THE STANDING SENATE COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL
SECURITY AND DEFENCE
OTTAWA, Monday, February 6, 2017
The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence
met this day at 1 p.m., in public, to examine and report on Canada’s national
security and defence policies, practices, circumstances and capabilities; and,
in camera, for the consideration of a draft agenda (future business).
Senator Daniel Lang (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: Welcome to the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence for Monday, February 6, 2017.
My name is Daniel Lang, Senator for Yukon. On my immediate left
is the clerk of the committee, Adam Thompson, and on the far right is the
Library of Parliament analyst, Marcus Pistor.
Before we begin, I would like to note to those watching at home
that the Senate made a decision in December to expand the size of the committee
from nine to twelve members, and last week we also made a decision to expand the
size of the Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs from five to seven members.
I would like to go around the table and ask each member to
introduce themselves, starting with the deputy chair.
Senator Jaffer: Mobina Jaffer and I am from British
Senator Kenny: Colin Kenny, Ontario.
Senator Dagenais: Jean-Guy Dagenais from Quebec.
Senator White: Vernon White, Ontario.
Senator Saint-Germain: Raymonde Saint-Germain from Quebec.
Senator Lankin: Frances Lankin, Ontario.
Senator Beyak: Lynn Beyak, Ontario. Welcome.
Senator Boniface: Gwen Boniface, Ontario. Welcome.
Senator Meredith: Don Meredith, Ontario. Welcome.
Senator McPhedran: Welcome. Marilou McPhedran, Manitoba.
The Chair: Today we will be meeting with four panels.
During our first panel we will hear from the commissioner of the Royal Canadian
Mounted Police, Bob Paulson. Accompanying him today is Daniel Dubeau, Deputy
Commissioner and Chief Human Resources Officer; Gilles Michaud, Deputy
Commissioner, Federal Policing; and Craig MacMillan, Assistant Commissioner,
Professional Responsibility Officer.
Commissioner, you can complete the introductions. I understand
you have an opening statement.
Bob Paulson, Commissioner, Royal Canadian Mounted Police:
Mr. Chair and senators,thank you for the invitation to be here today.
I would like to introduce the newest member of my team here in
Ottawa, Assistant Commissioner Louise Lafrance. Louise is the former commanding
officer of our training academy in Regina, also known as Depot. She had come to
headquarters recently to lead a special unit focusing on workplace culture and
engagement. Louise will make sure considerations like diversity, inclusion and
GBA+ are parts of our decision-making model for our policies, programs and
Let me, before going any further, express on behalf of all RCMP
employees, our deepest sympathies to the families of the victims of that
horrendous attack on a mosque in Quebec City.
As you know, the RCMP is facing a number of organizational
changes that impact our employees. I speak of upcoming changes to our member
labour relations system, the categories of employee initiative that will see our
civilian members converted to public service employees, and fair pay for our
police officers to keep pace with their municipal or provincial counterparts who
are in some cases literally their neighbours.
Many of these challenges are largely out of our hands, but we are
endeavouring to communicate as much information as we can to our employees. We
are taking all steps within our power to improve officer safety, job
satisfaction and the overall well-being of our employees in the workplace.
On the topic of officer safety, you may recall that in September
the RCMP purchased naloxone kits that can quickly reverse the symptoms of
exposure to fentanyl and other dangerous opioids. The kits are being carried by
our operational members while on duty for use on their fellow police officers or
other employees at risk of accidental exposure. They are also to be used as
first-aid treatment for citizens in an emergency situation if an opioid overdose
So far, about 85 per cent of our active members or more than
14,000 police officers have been trained on using them. In the context of
officer safety and first aid the kits have been used approximately 70 times.
Sadly, five of those interventions were unsuccessful. In two cases members who
came into contact with the drug successfully administered naloxone to
More recently, the RCMP has been training its police service dogs
to detect fentanyl by transforming pure fentanyl into a liquid form that allows
the dogs to train with the real smell of fentanyl without inhaling it. We
recently purchased 28 ion scanners to be installed in detachments around the
country to quickly test substances for the presence of dangerous or toxic
materials like fentanyl.
Meanwhile, we continue to take the fight to the producers and
distributors of this deadly drug, and we are working hard to extend our
prevention efforts internationally.
Turning to occupational health and safety, our latest annual
report on the subject indicates that the three most common types of accidents
among our regular members were falls, assaults or violent acts, and bodily
exhaustion. While the overall numbers are quite small, we recognize that we need
to do everything we can to eliminate or reduce incidents.
To help keep our members safer in the field, we have also made
improvements to officer safety through enhancements to a number of training
initiatives and equipment. To point out a few, we have enhanced training for
Immediate Action Rapid Deployment, or IARD for short, patrol carbines, crisis
intervention and de-escalation in addition to our firearms qualification testing
It was IARD training that helped a single constable convince the
suspect in the tragic shootings at the La Loche Community School last year to
peacefully give himself up.
This is training has been modified and is now mandatory for all
of our police officers.
Another area we have been focused on is crisis intervention and
de-escalation training for our members.
Police officers are often the first responders on scene when
someone is experiencing a mental health crisis. We have a critical role to play
when we intervene. That is why in September we launched a new course that is
mandatory for all of our members. The course supplements the training provided
to cadets at the RCMP Training Academy, and any other training currently offered
in RCMP divisions and detachments.
Our organization understands that police officers are not doctors
and should not diagnosis individuals in crises. However, it is important for
them to have an understanding of mental health disorders, including their signs
and symptoms, in order to conduct effective risk assessments and de-escalate a
mental health crisis whenever it is tactically feasible.
In light of our commitment to officer safety we have also
implemented new annual firearms qualification testing and training for our
On that note, let me say I obviously want the women and men of
the RCMP to have the best equipment to secure Canada, uphold the law, protect
people and protect them. I am also afraid of the trend in policing for
escalating military-style tools being used by law enforcement to conduct police
operations, the so-called militarization of policing. The risk is creating an
excessive enforcement and use of force mentality in our professional police
officers rather than the problem solving, community-oriented prevention approach
that is better suited to the Canadian context.
The greatest risk is developing the us-versus-them approach to
policing and potentially distancing us from the very people we serve. Things
such as the style of uniform, the use of force options we provide and the
tactics we deploy all contribute to how the Canadian public sees us and feel
about us. We need to be thoughtful, consultative and deliberate in these areas.
That is one of the reasons why we have integrated lessons learned
by all police forces and other stakeholders, and built our expertise to focus on
training such as de-escalation. We want to equip our members with the skills to
intervene safely and effectively, while providing alternatives to lethal force
and more aggressive tactics.
Another matter I would like to address is vacancies and
resourcing. Like any large organization we deal with vacancies on an ongoing
basis. We also have the added challenge of having to fill highly specialized
positions in cities and communities all across Canada.
The RCMP remains committed to filling the vacancies and
addressing resource issues on the frontlines to ensure we can continue to meet
the demands of our changing threat environment and ensuring our officers are
We also launched a resourcing review in August 2016 to assess
whether our overall funding envelope is sufficient to effectively deliver on our
mandate of keeping Canadians safe.
The assessment being conducted by a professional third party firm
focuses on horizontal or program-specific funding deficiencies or surpluses. It
explores opportunities for greater efficiencies such as reprioritization of
resources, adjustment to program design, or elimination of activities peripheral
to the RCMP's mandate.
Let me now turn to the subject of workplace health and
well-being. RCMP officers are only human. They deal with the same life stressors
as every other Canadian, with the added risk of physical and psychological
work-related injuries that are inherent to police work.
Work-related stress and mental illness is a real issue for
employees and one that we take seriously. The 2016-17 action plan which supports
the five-year RCMP mental health strategy is underway. The plan supports three
strategic goals: first, to eliminate the stigma of mental health injuries;
second, to take proactive steps to help employees maintain and improve their
psychological health; and third, to improve the management and review of
psychological health and safety programs and services.
There is much more work to do to ensure every employee is fully
supported and feels safe seeking help when they need it, but we are committed to
making this a reality.
The RCMP has no tolerance for the outdated attitude that mental
health injuries are not real, and we will continue to counter such attitudes
with education and awareness. We have work to do, though, and with the support
of our various partners in government we can and will do better.
The Government of Canada has supported the RCMP in settling the
class action lawsuit launched by female members and employees. We are
implementing the terms and conditions of that agreement which will strengthen
the force's work toward transforming our workplace.
Pending consultation with our contracting partners, we will also
make improvements to some of the supplemental health benefits available to our
The health of our force is a top priority for me and my senior
management colleagues. The increases to our benefit coverage will help to keep
our officers healthy as we continue into the year ahead. We continue to take
over 2.5 million calls for service from Canadians each and every year.
We have made strides over the years toward improving our
workplace and the well-being of our people, while recognizing there is still
much to do. We remain committed to addressing the concerns of our employees,
balancing them against the needs and expectations of the public we serve, and
ensuring everyone is informed and aware of the changes that are made.
The RCMP is a unique Canadian enterprise. It is not a municipal
police force. It is hundreds of them with accountabilities to municipal
governments and police boards. It is not a territorial police force. It is three
of them with accountability to three territorial governments. Neither is it a
provincial police force. It is eight of them, again with accountability to eight
provincial governments and all of the oversight systems and processes each have
The RCMP's core mandate is federal policing. We perform all of
these other roles under contract to these jurisdictions. Because we are a
federal police force, we are overseen by and accountable to a vast array of
oversight and accountability bodies, beyond even those in our contracted
Because we do all these things and because we mostly get it
right, Canadians can be proud of their police enterprise known as the RCMP. With
that, my colleagues and I would be pleased to answer any questions you have.
The Chair: Colleagues, I would ask you to be concise with
your questions and I would ask you, commissioner, to be concise with your
responses. Time is short and there are a lot of issues which you obviously
haven't touched on that members will be raising during the course of our
Senator Kenny: I have questions in three areas, but first
I would like to make a brief comment about the class action that is currently
We saw the ads run in the paper last week. We're hearing from
people who have received individual letters to participate. I think it would be
fair to say that I, at least, am impressed with the six classes of payment that
you have worked out from $20,000 up to $220,000.
The process seems like a positive one. Each complainant will go
to Mr. Justice Bastarache who will be the sole person to decide what the award
will be. All of the people who go through the process have the right to pursue
the matter further in the courts if they're so inclined.
I just wanted to say well done. This is an important step in
terms of changing the image of the RCMP, particularly with potential employees
who I think will feel these people are going into a process that will treat them
respectfully and acknowledge that they had a difficult time. I wanted to make
that comment. I don't know if you have anything further that you would like to
say regarding the class action.
Mr. Paulson: I thank you for your comments. Years of work
have gone into finding that appropriate balance of privacy for the complainants.
It's much more than just the monetary settlement. There are significant
organizational changes that we've committed to as well.
I think it is a positive development. Thank you for your
Senator Kenny: I wanted to raise the question of staffing
shortages because they're of great concern. A year ago the minister that you
report to said that you can't give the RCMP a mandate and demand it performs
miracles and then not provide the resources necessary for the job.
We've seen some resources go to you for cybersecurity and
counter-radicalization, but you seem to be plagued with understaffing just about
everywhere else. I go back to the Brown task force report in 2007, wherein he
said every detachment he visited was 30 per cent short of people. You appeared
before this committee a year ago and told us you had transferred 450 individuals
out of white collar crime to assist in counterterrorism. What have you done to
obtain more people to come and work in the RCMP for the additional
responsibilities that you're getting?
Mr. Paulson: Very quickly, what we've done is we have a
vacancy management approach that is looked after by Deputy Commissioner Dubeau
and a team. We aim to have between 4 and 5 per cent vacancy across our various
jurisdictions. It is not ideal, but a fair, balanced and thoughtful approach to
how the vacancies are shared across the country.
Then we have the KPMG review of our resourcing across the board,
which will hopefully finally settle with evidence and with a detailed
examination of efficiencies, effectiveness and requirements that will inform a
way going forward that the government seems to have undertaken to support and
address the findings of that report.
Senator Kenny: You still end up with it having an impact
on stress for frontline officers. You have a situation where there's a shortage
of backup and therefore you have health and safety problems. You know these
problems far better than I do. Why would you accept a 4 or 5 per cent gap as
being satisfactory in an organization that has 17,000 regular police?
Mr. Paulson: I don't accept it as being satisfactory but I
aim to bring change through deliberate and transparent processes that seek to
understand the drivers. As I've said in other areas of resourcing stress on our
employees and overworked employees is a failure of management rather than the
amount of resources.
We have to prioritize our work, let our employees do what they
can, make sure they're properly supervised and managed, and meanwhile argue
effectively, thoughtfully and transparently for more resources.
Senator Kenny: You know that you will have shortages. When
you have detachments as small as three and four people you know that losing one
person is a very significant problem.
Mr. Paulson: Indeed, and in that regard we've developed
some innovative approaches to compensate for those circumstances. In some
divisions, for example, they will have a team of people that will go into the
small detachments to support because one person from a three-person detachment
is a serious hurt. We have some strategies to get us to the point where we can
say: Here is what the resourcing need is; here is what we can do with what we’ve
got. Anything else will have to be put aside.
Senator Kenny: The message you're giving the committee is
that you're satisfied with the way things are, that you have sufficient
resources to do the job and that everything is okay.
Mr. Paulson: That would be an alternative interpretation
of what I just said. That is not what I said.
Senator Kenny: It's sometimes nice to hear what someone
else hears you say and that's what I'm doing. I'm telling you. You're sitting
there and you sound awfully smug that everything is fine in terms of staffing,
and I'm telling you what we hear.
Mr. Paulson: I didn't say that, senator. I didn't say
everything was fine. I agree that there's a resourcing shortage. I've enumerated
it. I understand that it exists. We've deployed strategies to help our members
in the field cope with it. We've deployed a very deliberate strategy to address
it. We have deployed another strategy to prioritize our work. I'm not sitting
here saying it is all blue skies and butterflies, senator. I'm not saying that.
Senator Kenny: Have you put the case that you need more
Mr. Paulson: Yes. We're doing that. I just explained to
you the KPMG efficiency and resourcing study that is going across all our
Senator Kenny: Are you asking the government for more
Mr. Paulson: I'm going to ask the government for more
people when I have the evidence to persuade the people with the money to give me
more people. In the provinces we get more people all the time because there's an
evidence-built case around that. Municipalities are asking for new bodies all
the time and we provide them. It's a very complex enterprise that we're running
Senator Kenny: On the subject of pay, the RCMP hasn't had
a raise for three years. We still have figures coming back which shock Canadians
that a first-class constable ranks 57th
out of 82 Canadian police forces. When you're comparing total pay for members of
the RCMP, the RCMP ends up being 14.5 per cent less than the other ones. Why are
we not paying the RCMP a salary commensurate with the work they're doing? Then
the problems that you have recruiting will not be so bad,
Mr. Paulson: Indeed, we are pursuing that very point.
Senator Kenny: What are you doing?
Mr. Paulson: I'm asking the government for more money.
Senator Kenny: What do they tell you back?
Mr. Paulson: Stand by.
Senator Kenny: They've been saying that for a year plus.
Mr. Paulson: Drop a dime.
Senator Kenny: I'd love to drop a dime but it's not a
Mr. Paulson: Indeed.
Senator Kenny: That's short and sweet. My last question
has to do with equipment. I'm particularly interested in the recommendation
coming out of Alphonse McNeil's report about carbines. Are we at a stage now
where all of the vehicles that are used in general policing have a carbine, and
all of the people that are in those vehicles have been trained to use carbines?
Mr. Paulson: We've never sort of targeted all of the
people in police cars and all of the police cars to have it. We are advancing
along in terms of our deployment of carbines across the country. In terms of the
training it is proceeding very well. Recruits are trained out of Depot now. I
have the number somewhere in this this book and I can find them for you later
Senator Kenny: Could somebody send us the metrics?
Mr. Paulson: Sure.
Senator White: Congratulations on your work on naloxone. I
know it's a huge issue particularly in Western Canada. I appreciate it.
I wonder if you could walk us through or have Deputy Dubeau walk
us through the impact you're having when it comes to losing members as a result
of a lack of benefits and pay. We've had a couple leave the Hill in the last few
months and join the OPP, I believe. I wonder if you can walk us through that and
from a financial perspective the difference in pay — the last report I saw was
2014 — between OPP, RCMP and RCMP Calgary, a couple of the top services, just so
we understand the numbers.
Mr. Paulson: Before I hand it over to Deputy Dubeau, it is
definitely forming part of our arguments and rationale with the government to
get our pay raise. We are seeing increasingly across the country, frankly,
people leaving the force in British Columbia to go to Vancouver, people leaving
the force in Alberta to go to Calgary, to go to Edmonton, and the examples
you've just cited. It is a real drain on our existing resources. We are always
in competition with other police forces. Dan may have the stats by now.
Daniel Dubeau, Deputy Commissioner and Chief Human Resources
Officer, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: I am looking for the stats. We can
send you the report itself. Senator Kenny was right. We're approximately right
now 14.4 per cent behind the top three. Senator, if you look at our base pay
we're at 72 now. We are almost at the bottom of the list. We looked at a police
force of 50 police officers. That is what we compare ourselves to. We're about
72 of a list of 80-something. We're near the bottom end. When you factor in all
the benefits we're 14 per cent. I can share that with you.
That is an issue. We are losing members, not at the rate everyone
would think because the other forces are not hiring. If the other forces were
hiring more, you might see more of a transition. We have seen in the past other
police forces reaching into our members and offering them signing bonuses.
They're actually quoting the pay as an issue. That is an issue. The numbers
themselves are hard to track because not every member will tell us when they're
Senator White: If I may, just as an example, I think you
guys are at about $84,000 now for a first-class constable.
Mr. Dubeau: Yes.
Senator White: Calgary is at $102,000 and Alberta at
$105,000, so it is almost $20,000 per year.
Mr. Dubeau: Yes, you can start at Vancouver. I believe
Calgary is about $20,000. It's quite a gap and it’s becoming harder.
That is why, as the commissioner said, we have engaged the
government, our minister's office, about getting us a pay raise, trying to bring
us up maybe not to par but at least down a path where we can start closing that
gap a bit. That is becoming more and more of an issue where members are doing
the same work sometimes in more dire situations and they're getting paid less.
Mr. Paulson: Joint forces operations.
Senator White: Same cars, different pay.
Mr. Dubeau: I can try to get you the numbers, senator.
They are hard to track, depending on how the members sign off on their
retirement. If they are leaving to go to another force they might not tell us.
Senator White: My second question is similar. We talked
about vacancy rates of 3 or 4 per cent, which doesn't sound so bad, but those
are actual empty spots. We don't include in that, I take it, mat or pat leave,
accommodated members, sick leave and long-term sick leave. What percentage would
we be at on those vacancy rates instead of 3 or 4 per cent? Would it be 9, 10 or
11 per cent?
Mr. Dubeau: For the actual vacancy rates I would have to
pull out the charts we worked through. When you start with your vacancy
patterns, which are about 5 per cent as the commissioner said, and all the other
leave like sick leave and that, you could be up in the double digits.
Senator White: Up to 10 plus.
Mr. Dubeau: Yes. Depending on the area you could be even
higher. Up North where you have smaller detachments, as Senator Kenny said, if
you lose one person and you're a third, you have to backfill. We have different
strategies to put people up there for relief so we can get our members out not
only for medical appointments or other issues but even for holidays. We are
working on that with our COs very closely to ensure our members get their rest.
Senator White: My last short question, if it's okay, is
for Assistant Commissioner Lafrance. You just came from Depot, I understand,
last summer. I know it is six months old now but I'm sure it's still fresh.
You've changed the rules around hiring. You've dropped the
entrance exam for university. I think you are the only police service in Canada
that does not have an entrance exam for any applicants, by the way, other than
direct entries. From your perspective, has that had a positive impact on the
number of people getting into training and graduating, or has it just increased
the number of people coming through the application door?
Mr. Dubeau: I will answer that question because those
changes would have been under HR and not under the Depot. There has been an
When it came down to the entrance exam it was as simple as this:
When we asked our experts what we are testing for in the entrance exam, we are
just testing for academic levels so they could actually go through Depot and
pass. That's all it was.
When we dropped it, we dropped it for university graduates
because when we did an analysis most of our university graduates were going into
Depot and doing very well. They weren't passing and failing on academics. Now we
have expanded that.
That opened up the pool and we are getting more people coming
into the force now. We want to bring up our education level in the force that's
a way to attract those cohorts, not only university graduates but college
graduates with two-year degrees. We have very specific parameters.
We were able to get more coming in. Right now we're at 7,300. We
were aiming at 34 troops for this year. With Depot at 32 we are going to meet
that target. It has worked. We were able to attract more. I have heard the CBSA
has adopted the same model. Now they are dropping the entrance exam for
university graduates. If you're testing them on academics that they have already
been tested on in university, it is duplication.
Senator White: Are we seeing the diversity of recruiting,
though? It used to be 10 per cent Aboriginal, 20 per cent diverse community and
30 per cent women. Are we hitting those targets as well or have we dropped them?
I can't remember if we did or not.
Mr. Dubeau: We haven't hit those targets. With our gender
and respect tactic we were targeting 50 per cent women. We are at about 25
per cent right now, only because the numbers have got so big. We are at 75
per cent white male.
Senator White: Is that from a recruiting perspective or in
Mr. Dubeau: That we are hiring. You asked me what we're
sending through Depot right now. We're hiring about 850 currently: 75 per cent
would be white males, 25 per cent or thereabouts would be females, and 15
per cent visible would be minorities. Aboriginals would be about 3 per cent,
which is an issue for us. We want to bring that up.
Overall it is bringing up the makeup of the force. The labour
market availability is just not there. ESDC has provided us numbers. There are
going to be 23,000 police jobs open in the next few years with only 21,000
applicants. We know right now we're in a competitive market. It's hard to
attract people to our force not only with the pay, but working conditions are
quite different where they have to be mobile and be able to move around.
The Chair: It was reported this morning that they are at
least 1,000 officers short within the RCMP. We've also been told that there have
been 450 personnel moved from the white collar drug area to the terrorist file.
That's 1,450 personnel that in one way or the other haven’t been replaced to our
In respect to the examination that's underway, first, when can we
expect a proposal going before the government to be able to take care of the
question of the financing so that you can pay the personnel in the manner that
they should be paid and, second, get the increased staff so you can do the job
you're being asked to do? When do you expect that to be done and when do you
expect a decision to be made?
Mr. Paulson: The pay is being actively sought. It's in
somebody else's hands right now. We have asked for a pay raise consistent with
the business case that the no longer existent pay council put together to start
to turn the corner. That is with the government; you should ask them.
With respect to resourcing we are wrapping up that KPMG study.
Given budget cycles, report preparation and so on, I would think in the next
couple of years we should have some clarity around that.
At the same time it needs to be said we have contracting partners
that are also part of this discussion such as municipalities and provinces. We
have a contract management committee that we are very accountable to. When we
make changes to how we do business, whether it is recruiting, training or
whatever, they need to be consulted. I am not saying it's a drag because it's a
very positive relationship that needs to be factored in.
It's quite complex, which is not to say I am trying to avoid the
answer, but the momentum is swinging very strongly toward all of these things:
pay raise, resourcing and systems to prioritize work. Those things are all
coming together, so I would say in the next couple of years we should have
The Chair: When will the KPMG study be completed?
Mr. Paulson: It was supposed to be done by now but it's
not, so I would say in the next couple of months or in the next three months
The Chair: Perhaps we'll pursue this further.
Senator Jaffer: I have a supplementary question on what
Senator White was asking. Did you say there were 25 per cent women at the
present moment or is that the aim in the force?
Mr. Paulson: The aim is 30 per cent. We set an objective
recognizing that ultimately we would like them to be 50 per cent of the force.
Our short-term objective, which is 2026 or 2030 perhaps, is 30 per cent. We need
to have a very big intake of women into the recruiting system in order to change
the numbers we have now.
Right now I believe we're at about 21 or 22 per cent women in the
force, which is an accomplishment. It's more than the labour market
availability, but that should not be the limiting factor in how we approach
recruiting women. We need to change the force. We need to change the
attractiveness of the force to women and other target groups.
Our intake right now is about 25 per cent. That's not going to
have a big impact on the existing 21 per cent rate. We need to go up. We need 50
per cent women coming into Depot to have a noticeable change in our short-term
Senator Jaffer: How about ethnic minorities?
Mr. Paulson: Similarly. For example, with Aboriginals I
think we're at 8 per cent.
Mr. Dubeau: Right now the rate for our Aboriginal members
would be 8 per cent. Our visible minorities are probably about 10 per cent or
10.5 per cent currently, today.
Senator Jaffer: What is the long-term goal?
Mr. Dubeau: I believe for our visible minorities we're
shooting for 10 per cent visible minorities and 20 per cent Aboriginal. I think
that is where we are going. I will have to get back to you, senator, with the
targets, but those are the benchmarks.
Mr. Paulson: We're engaged with the broader security and
intelligence community in the federal government on tiger-teaming our various
For example, CSC has some very good initiatives where they go out
and recruit in a certain way. We recruit in a way that we have always recruited.
We have already gotten together. The government has been pretty clear on their
expectations around innovating in our approaches to some of these issues. We're
engaged in that actively.
Senator Jaffer: I would like a clarification and then I'll
ask my question after.
In your remarks you said that you had created a special unit.
What do you mean by special? Is it temporary? Why is it called special? It is
focusing on workplace culture and engagement and looking at diversity inclusion
and GBA. I guess that means gender-based assessment.
What is the mandate? Is the mandate in writing and for how long?
Will you also look at workplace harassment; not sexual but workplace harassment?
Is it both for civilians and non-civilians?
Mr. Paulson: This is an excellent opportunity for me to
stop talking and invite Assistant Commissioner Lafrance to speak.
Senator Jaffer: Before you stop talking I want to know
from you, sir, what is her mandate. Is it in writing?
Mr. Paulson: It is in writing.
Senator Jaffer: Can we have a copy?
Mr. Paulson: It's all of those things that you just asked
me about. You would be better informed by letting her describe to you what it
Louise Lafrance, Assistant Commissioner and Director General,
Workforce Culture and Employee Engagement, Royal Canadian Mounted Police:
You are bang on. The mandate is GBA, gender-based analysis plus, which is
inclusive of everything. It is not only gender. It has to do with visible
minorities and Aboriginals, everything from sexual orientation to language,
et cetera and ensuring that it is integrated in every policy and everything that
we do in training in the RCMP. It's a long project so it will not be temporary.
It creates an oversight on everything in the past as far as the
recommendations from various reports. I look at these reports to ensure that an
initiative or a recommendation has been met. Did it really work? Can I make a
linkage between them?
Trying to switch from focusing on the negative to focusing on the
positive, the good, positive behaviour in the organization is very difficult for
members and all of our employees.
You asked if it was only for members; not at all. That's why it's
called workforce, cultural and employee engagement. It's everybody because we're
a big team. We say often that we are a family. It's taking care of each other.
We looked at everything we are doing right now. Instead of
reinventing everything we have been doing in the past, we are putting that
together and making sure that people understand the good things we're doing and
the negative behaviour we've had in the RCMP.
It will not change overnight. It will take time. I can tell you
one thing as a female in this organization. I've been around for a long time. If
I did not believe there was willingness at the top and at all levels of the
organization to change and to move on with our culture and changing the way we
do things, I would not have accepted this position.
Senator Jaffer: My question wasn't that.
Ms. Lafrance: I am sorry.
Senator Jaffer: What is your mandate? I would like to see
a copy of your written mandate. My question also is: How large is your team and
what resources are you given to do your job?
Ms. Lafrance: My team is being built as we speak. We are
in phase one right now. I just started this.
Senator Jaffer: Is it just you?
Ms. Lafrance: No, no. I have a team. The commissioner has
given me carte blanche. He said, “Tell me what you need.” This is what we
determine within phase one. He didn't give me limits; he didn't give me
parameters. He said, “Tell me what we need to move this forward,” and that is
what I'm doing.
Senator Jaffer: How long will phase one last?
Ms. Lafrance: Until December 2017.
Senator Jaffer: My main question to you, commissioner, is
as follows. In the last two weeks the environment in the world changed. For us
who are Muslims our world really changed. It's not a good time to be a Muslim.
Bill C-51, the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act; Bill
C-44, the Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act; and Bill C-13, the
anti-cyberbullying act all allow you, sir, to share information with the U.S.
In light of what has happened what safeguards are you putting in
place to protect Canadians?
Mr. Paulson: I would say it has changed. It was a very
shocking and upsetting development and I understand why you feel the way you do.
I think that goes back to your previous questions.
I will be very brief, chair, and just say that I've been here
numerous times talking with you about our issues in respect of workplace
conduct. What Louise and her team are doing is much broader than simply counting
how many harassment complaints we've had and how they turned out. Now we're
engaged in the broader discussion about inclusiveness and about real engagement
with our citizens and ourselves. That is part of the cultural change we have
been targeting for many years.
With respect to your comments about the various pieces of
legislation under review, it's very important in policing that we be very
proactive in sharing information and that we be very smart and transparent about
how we share that information. With respect specifically to your question about
the Americans, we've seen this movie before.
Senator Jaffer: We have.
Mr. Paulson: We have. In fact the CRCC is actively engaged
right now in doing a specific special interest review of how we the RCMP have
deployed the changes to our national security operations with respect to the
O'Connor recommendations which, as you will know, speak specifically to sharing
information, the testing of the qualifying of the information, the caveating of
the information, the international sharing and the torture issues. All those
systems and processes are being validated as we speak. They have kept us in good
stead since they were deployed.
I feel very confident about how smart and transparent we are
being around our information sharing. Hopefully we can get you to that level of
comfort and confidence in what we're doing.
Senator Jaffer: Commissioner, I have had the pleasure to
work with the Arar family for a very long time, since the time he was wrongfully
sent to Syria. That family suffers every day. No amount of compensation will
ever stop that family from suffering. It is not just him, but his family: his
children and his wife.
I don't want another Maher Arar. I want to hear from you what
one thing you are putting in place right now to protect Canadian rights; not
share information with the U.S but will protect Canadians.
Mr. Paulson: I don't want me leaving here, senator,
thinking that we're not sharing information with the U.S.
Senator Jaffer: No, I know you are sharing. That's a
given. What are you doing?
Mr. Paulson: We're making sure that the information we
have and we share are for purposes that are considered by the existing
legislation; that our information is fact checked; that it's conditioned; that
its reliability is fairly described; that its origins have been fairly
described; that the information is caveated; and that all the limits Mr. Justice
O'Connor found to be appropriate, given what he found in his inquiries, are
We have opened our books in terms of the CRCC coming in to have a
look at how we manage national security information, including information
shared with international partners. We fully expect them to have a view. I am
highly confident that it will be complimentary and positive, but there it is:
The books are open. Come and look.
The Chair: Is the CRCC the Civilian Review and Complaints
Mr. Paulson: Yes. I believe they have been here before
The Chair: It's just that the viewers would not understand
who you are referring to. It is the oversight organization.
Mr. Paulson: Yes. They just recently, at the same time
Bill C-42 came into existence, acquired new powers to be able to do policy based
reviews, chair initiated reviews, specified interest reviews and specified
activity reviews. They can come in, open the fridge and go where they want,
which was not the case formerly.
The Chair: Colleagues, I will be stricter as we move along
here. I have been a bit lax in respect to trying to get everybody included.
Senator Dagenais: Thank you, Commissioner. I have two
questions for you. The first one is about radicalization. Our committee has
already expressed its concerns about the few legal actions launched in Canada
despite the number of radicalized persons, approximately 160 to 180.
Some journalists are currently working on a dossier about the
Montreal-Trudeau Airport, as some radicalized persons could be among the airport
personnel. I don’t know if you are aware of that. Perhaps we need to identify
these people and find out whether they are the subject of investigations in
Canada or Quebec.
Can you reassure Canadians, and our committee, that none of the
people you have suspicions about currently is employed by public services or by
a Canadian agency?
Mr. Paulson: I would like to be able to give you the
reassurance you seek, but I’m not certain that I can. I’m going to ask Deputy
Commissioner Michaud to speak to you about our approach to this.
Gilles Michaud, Deputy Commissioner, Federal Policing, Royal
Canadian Mounted Policy: It’s difficult to answer that question on
communication with the public as to who is radicalized and who is not. Our
approach and efforts to counter radicalization include other police forces, and
various social services.
People whom we feel are radicalized and want to use violence as a
way to manifest their beliefs are investigated. I wish to reassure the Canadian
public by saying that if people are known to us as being radicalized and want to
resort to violence, they are investigated.
Senator Dagenais: You know, often people who are
radicalized are going to try to do things, and airports are places where they
can get public visibility. Take as an example what happened at the Fort
Lauderdale airport. Often they will attack in registration areas or baggage
pick-up areas. When I was informed of this, it worried me. However, I understand
that you cannot disclose information about ongoing investigations here.
Here is my second question, Commissioner. Last June, you told our
committee that you could live with your members’ unionization without the
exclusions that were contained in Bill C-7. Consequently, we amended the bill in
accordance with that, as you know. However, since that time, the government has
been totally silent regarding its intentions to allow RCMP police to unionize.
We have not heard much about it.
Can you tell us whether you or members of RCMP management have
worked since then with the government to move Bill C-7 forward, or to prepare a
new bill on the unionization of the RCMP police?
Mr. Paulson: First, I would say that there is a bill on
public services. If there was an initiative to launch unionization, there would
be a way to do that, currently.
The answer to the second part of your question is yes, we worked
with the government after I appeared before the committee. We did work with the
government, and the file is in the hands of the government.
Senator Dagenais: I would have one last comment; earlier
we heard about classification in connection with salaries and benefits. Perhaps
unionization could help you to solve your problems. Thank you.
Senator Meredith: Thank you very much, commissioner, for
being here with your team. I want to convey to all officers under your command
our appreciation for the work they do responding to various crises, especially
the Desmond situation in Nova Scotia over the holidays, and so forth.
As my colleague Senator Jaffer indicated the world has changed.
When it comes to identifying and collecting information it has been widely
reported that recently you gave access to CBC and the
Toronto Star with respect to the technological and legal impediments of
collection of evidence to allow the RCMP to bring charges forward.
Can you elaborate a bit for me on that, why you had to go to that
extreme, and the impact that it will have on section 83? Will you be providing
such access to us as a committee as well?
Mr. Paulson: Let me start with the last one first. I'm
happy to respond to specific areas of interest that the committee may have. If
we can have conversations that are consistent with what the CBC and the
Toronto Star were interested in, I would be happy to pursue that.
Without getting into any specifics or causing any trouble, my
objective and the force's objective at engaging and opening our books to the
media a bit is that the cybercrime dimension of the larger cyber issue is often
put aside as these grander discussions around global cybersecurity take place.
My point was that evidence collection, evidence testing and
evidence production in support of criminal justice responses to events that
happen in society are being impacted. A serious conversation that must take
place among policy-makers is around how we want to move forward in this digital
world. I was simply trying to illustrate that while privacy is a valid,
important and indeed crucial element of our freedoms that we enjoy, it sometimes
comes up against how we encounter evidence in the digital world. The two don't
seem to have been resolved satisfactorily.
We need to think that through. I have strong views about it, but
I don't need to necessarily put them on anybody except to say that policy-makers
and lawmakers should interest themselves in these problems because if they are
not on your desk today they will be on your desk tomorrow, and they are coming
like a freight train.
Senator Meredith: That was very well put in terms
of just the information that needs to come forward, especially when it deals
with a specific threat. We saw the situation with respect to the radicalized
individual, Aaron Driver, in Strathroy, Ontario, who was subsequently killed. He
had obviously a peace bond and the courts lowered that.
What should we be doing right now as lawmakers to protect
Canadians when it comes to individuals who are identified as being radicalized
in some way, who have been in the courts and so forth?
Mr. Paulson: With respect specifically to the lessons that
we learned from the Driver case I would say a couple of things. We have to find
ways of not only putting conditions on the individual to whom we are providing
the peace bond, but we need some mechanism to be able to validate those
conditions. In other words, it's nice to be able to say don't use the computer,
but if you can't go in and check whether he's using the computer then we're back
to square one.
As a police force we have to be smarter in how we manage these
peace bonds. When I was here years ago arguing for peace bonds, I was saying it
was kind of like the Al Capone sort of approach, right? Maybe we can't get the
evidence for the terrorist financing case and maybe we can't get the evidence
for the substantive terrorist offence, but if we can get you on a peace bond and
then surveil you until you violate it, which you likely will, then that's a
strategy and that's a valid strategy. We have to be smart around how we manage
Similarly we have to manage expectations. The terrorist peace
bond is a very important tool, but it's not the be-all and end-all to the
question of radicalization or terrorism. It is just simply one tool in the box
that we use and we have used increasingly to effect and to be able to have the
state force the individual into some process by which his or her radicalized
state gets examined and managed.
Senator Meredith: In terms of resources Senator Kenny
talked about the lack of resources. How will you deploy in terms of to ensure
that Canadians are protected, given the various cells that are allegedly
operating in this country, the surveillance of them and the protection of
Mr. Paulson: As I've described we prioritize. We
prioritize based on the threat that the criminal problem presents to us.
Regarding terrorism there is zero appetite in Canada for any sort of level of
terrorism to exist. Therefore we have a zero fail approach. It's very resource
intensive. That's why we're taking some of the resources out of some of the
other areas which may not have the same priority level. Meanwhile, we argue and
demonstrate that we need more resources to do those new pieces of work.
Senator Boniface: To follow up on the lawful access issue,
I know this is a worldwide issue. Do you have any other jurisdiction that you
would point to where you think they've struck the balance with privacy?
Mr. Paulson: Often we look at the U.K. and we say the U.K.
has a good approach on intel to evidence. They have a good approach to access to
subscriber info and so on. There are other Western countries that do the same
thing. Our own challenge is to have our own discussion about privacy, which
seems to have taken over, frankly. I don't want to be the guy who is not
supportive of privacy. I am, and that needs to be balanced against what we're
trying to do, which is keep Canadians safe.
That's always the intention, it seems. I'm not the expert on both
sides. I might have some expertise in one area, but we need to have that adult
Senator Lankin: The issue of intel to evidence and where
the challenges are right now facing you, I'd appreciate hearing a bit about
that. When you were asked about the access that had been granted to the media,
clearly you were attempting to show, to disclose and be transparent about some
of the challenges that policing face with respect to cyber-threats.
You made a statement you thought there was a misunderstanding in
your own opinion about the privacy threat. There's a lot of empathy for how
difficult the world is becoming in terms of the cyber-threat that is there, but
there's also a lot of real concern about potential abuse of citizens' rights, in
Could you tell us about the intel to evidence issue and what you
meant when you said that there was a misunderstanding about “the privacy
Mr. Paulson: I'll deal with the last one first. What I
meant was that when I come out and say, for example as I've said, that we should
have warrantless access despite the Supreme Court decision people think I'm a
heretic. They say, “Show us the evidence that says this is so serious that would
warrant re-examining it.” That's what we were trying to do there.
My view was that the privacy discussion had gotten away from the
practical reality, which is there are some serious impediments to our being able
to advance our criminal investigations through the charter and through existing
legislation. That's what I meant.
The intel to evidence issue is one that our colleagues at the
service and us and others continually work on. Mostly it's a function of
practice, I would assert, between the RCMP and the intelligence service. We've
done incredible work in the last several years of bringing us together in the
so-called one vision approach to managing the threat and we are continuing to
work on that. I don't know that there is a legislative fix for intel to
Professor Forcese just wrote in his blog, in my opinion, a very
instructive piece on how intel to evidence should be understood and what
challenges are there. We need to come to ground on that because it does get in
the way sometimes of our ability to bring forward a criminal justice outcome to
Canadians to see the process that is at play.
At the same time the intelligence interests around keeping our
intelligence work safe and secret sources and methods not exposed to the
hardship of the criminal justice process has some merit too. Those two things
need to be reconciled. We try to do it through practice and we need to evolve
Senator Saint-Germain: Commissioner, I thank you and your
colleagues for being here, and I would like to mention the respect with which
you answer our questions. This merits respect on our part as well.
I have two questions on the prevention or anticipation of certain
issues; in the first case, I am thinking of the anticipation of hate crimes, and
in the second, about harassment issues and intimidation at work.
Regarding hate crimes, in your presentation you made a timely
reference to recent and tragic events that took place in Quebec’s large mosque.
Do you think that in compliance with the law, and given the tools at your
disposal currently, collaboration among the various police services is
sufficient? I am thinking especially of Canada’s domestic police forces, that is
to say provincial and municipal police. Are there any concrete means in the
short term to improve that co-operation so that you may benefit from better
information sharing, and be able to prevent incidents better for the benefit of
Mr. Paulson: Thank
you for your question. It is a very important issue, and we saw first-hand the
efforts that served us well in relation to the attack in Quebec City.
I am going to ask Deputy
Commissioner Michaud to explain how we managed the situation in cooperation with
the Sûreté du Québec, Quebec City and the city of Montreal. In Quebec City, we
were able to address the challenges in cooperation with the police forces. The
same is true elsewhere, in other provinces, but there is still some work to do
in that regard.
Mr. Michaud: As I
understand it, your question is general and does not pertain solely to the
events in Quebec City.
Precisely. The tragedy in Quebec City exemplifies why we must do more to prevent
hate crimes, particularly against the Muslim community, and for the sake of all
Mr. Michaud: All
police forces work together on a daily basis when it comes to sharing
intelligence. Police forces under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Security
Intelligence Service share information on organized crime, hate crimes and so
forth. That applies to every police force across the country, be it municipal,
provincial or even federal, in the case of the RCMP.
In that sense, I would
say the information sharing is timely and appropriate, and I think the
cooperation among all of the forces in deploying personnel in response to the
Quebec City incident demonstrates that. It is an excellent example.
Forgive me, but I must interrupt you. I realize you are talking about this
event, specifically, but I am wondering more about the future. It’s an issue
that is ultimately in the best interest of all Canadians. Have you drawn any
lessons as to what all police forces could do when it comes to sharing
information and preventing incidents like this?
Say a Canadian were
thinking about committing a similar act right now. Are you properly equipped?
Could you be better equipped, while respecting privacy considerations currently
set out in the Charter and legislation?
Mr. Michaud: The
short answer is yes. In the case of the attack in Quebec City, there is nothing
to suggest that any information was not shared. It is still too early to say for
sure, though, given that we have to conduct an analysis and after action review
to ascertain what happened. For the time being, however, we have nothing to
indicate that any pre-existing information would have led us to believe the
event was forthcoming.
I would say that, by and
large, in the area of organized crime, the information-sharing mechanism in
place countrywide is highly effective.
Now, in June 2013, the
committee recommended that you put in place an ombudsman to better prevent and
resolve instances of workplace bullying and harassment, as an alternative to the
courts. Since then, the RCMP has had to spend $100 million to settle class
action lawsuits arising from harassment allegations and workplace bullying.
Does your prevention
strategy include plans to implement that recommendation and ultimately establish
the position of an independent mediator, like an ombudsman, who would be
responsible for dealing with such labour relations issues?
Mr. Paulson: No.
We discussed the usefulness of an ombudsman. In my view, an accountability
mechanism at the federal, provincial and municipal levels is in place. Our
harassment prevention program is beginning to show that the measure is
successful. I have often talked about the prevention component in Bill C-42. We
are beginning to receive meaningful data in support of the prevention measures.
Early intervention efforts have been successful at getting in
front of some of those.
Are you referring to the accountability of managers under your harassment
Mr. Paulson: Yes.
Senator Beyak: Thank you all for coming. Commissioner,
many citizens watch this committee at home, I guess because of their interest in
their personal safety and national security and defence. One thing that isn't
well understood is terrorism financing because there are so many conflicting
reports about it. I wanted to read the 2016 Annual Report from FINTRAC that
Of FINTRAC’s total disclosures, 1,501 were associated to money
laundering. An additional 483 cases were relevant to terrorism financing and
threats to the security of Canada, an increase of more than 43 percent . . . .
Yet it's my understanding that as the RCMP is responsible for
terrorism only one conviction for terrorism financing has happened since 2001.
Could you explain what we're doing to assure Canadians that these next 483 cases
will be fully investigated and given the full extent of the law?
Mr. Paulson: I looked at your previous deliberations, and
I think I anticipated this question. Gilles Michaud and I have looked at our
numbers and we're prepared to give you an answer.
I wanted to put an emphasis on the central role that FINTRAC is
playing and to manage expectations around that before Gilles gives you the
response. Those are 483 instances in their view of suspicious occurrences. From
that we take those and look at those, and then Gilles will walk down what we do
It sounds like an excuse, and I don't mean it to be one, but the
absence of prosecutions arising does not reflect an abandonment of interest in
those numbers. Gilles, maybe you could talk to that.
Mr. Michaud: When we receive those disclosures from
FINTRAC we do an assessment because these are suspicious activities. We need to
further analyze the suspicions behind these reports. From these 483 reports,
there were 100 of them that we said we really need to look at more closely. Of
the remaining suspicious activities that did meet any threshold for a criminal
investigation, out of the 100 there were 43 we referred to our divisions for
How they fit into our current ongoing investigations is the other
piece of the puzzle. Some of them may be linked to ongoing criminal
investigations that are looking at threat-to-life files. Being terrorism
financing, we have ongoing investigations around individuals that might be
involved in those activities.
They would fall into a category where we're investigating these
individuals on threat to life and, as you know, we will put emphasis on threat
to life instead of the terrorism financing piece unless we determine that the
best way to counter their activities is through a terrorism financing charge.
When I talk about 43 files it means some of them are probably
still ongoing. Before we see an end result with charges being laid it takes more
time. From suspicion we need to develop the evidence required to bring it before
Sometimes we may use them from a disruption perspective. It's not
necessarily through a criminal charge, but we will approach these situations
where these individuals are involved and address them in a different way.
I'll give you an example where we had a young individual in the
province of Quebec in 2014 that basically committed an armed robbery to finance
his travel to go overseas. At the end of the day we had a potential terrorism
financing charge right there. At the end, though, he was charged under section
83 of the Criminal Code.
Mr. Paulson: Another good example would be the project in
the VIA Rail plot. We had terrorist-related referrals and information on the VIA
Rail plot. Those two individuals have been sentenced to life imprisonment. It
would make no sense to bring terrorism-related financing charges against them,
which is to say that we need to make sure we are attentive to terrorism
financing but it's not quite as stark as those numbers might make you think.
Senator Boniface: I'm interested in your comments around
the mental health strategy. As you know many agencies are undertaking this. I
commend you for it. I am interested, because culture can eat policy every day,
in how you will measure that in the long run so that you can learn how your
progress is going.
Mr. Paulson: It is indeed a challenge to deploy this
mental health action plan from our strategy. It is resource intensive and we
need to invest in and develop business cases. While we have a strategy and we
have the plan, I don't want to fool you that it's all perfect. We have some work
Things like the number of complaints arising from workplace
dissatisfaction, sick leave, and absences in the workplace are the garden
variety indicators we might have. The pension cost for mental health pensions
are going up and the PTSD applications are going up. Those numbers tell a clear
story. Getting those to turn back toward normalcy would be a strong indicator.
This is a nascent strategy we have. We have been concentrating,
as Dan would say, on the understanding of the mental health issue in the police
community, which you know is a challenge.
I think we've succeeded. We've changed the approach. There's not
a day that goes by when we have the commanding officer's report in across the
country where I don't hear, “Here's what happened. There was a shootout.” I'd
get all the evidence and everything, and it used to end there. Now it is: What
are we doing for the member or members? Have they been debriefed? Are they being
looked after? That cultural change is starting to take hold. It's a work in
Senator Lankin: A couple years ago former RCMP officer
Deanna Lennox published a book about her experience with PTSD and the struggle
to be understood within the force. From reading that book I would say, if that's
an accurate description of what took place, it was the treatment, the
dismissiveness and the punitive actions of her that exacerbated a PTSD
What has changed in the last two years since her book was
published with respect to the training of management and the monitoring of
management for their response to these concerns being brought forward?
Mr. Paulson: A number of things have changed such as
mandatory training for all managers and so on but also in terms of the
accountabilities. One of the pillars of our action plan is socializing the
organization to the real effects of PTSD, of mental health injuries, and holding
people to account for failing to properly manage stressful situations.
For example, as I was saying, the questions that come out of me
and other COs when they get briefed on a particularly acute set of facts is:
What are you doing about the employees? That is now beginning to permeate the
I feel very confident. In the last couple of years, in
particular, there has been a real sea change. The numbers of discussions we're
having both at the national and divisional levels on the very subject of mental
health in the workplace are succeeding in doing that.
Senator McPhedran: As a new independent senator I am
meeting you and your team for the first time. It has been a very interesting
I did note that initially they were all men, you and your
colleagues, so it was very pleasant to see Assistant Commissioner Lafrance with
you as well.
My question relates to the Conduct Authority Representative
Directorate, which is mentioned with regard to the Explosives Training Unit
incident. I would like to ask, first of all: What does CARD do? Then I would
like to ask, similar to my colleagues who have been pressing for more
information on monitoring, for clear information about methodology and how there
can be helpful tracking and meaningful comparisons drawn.
Let me frame a question on the mandatory consultation with CARD
regarding allegations of sexual misconduct. How does that work? How will you
actually measure “improvements” that you referenced partly in answer to
Mr. Paulson: Craig MacMillan, a professional
responsibility officer, can walk you through that.
Craig MacMillan, Assistant Commissioner, Professional
Responsibility Officer, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: CARD, the Conduct
Authority Representative Directorate, is comprised of regular RCMP members and
lawyers as well as civilian lawyers. Their role was much broader before but now
it is to present dismissal cases solely to a board. They also provide
To answer your question about the role on assistance, files
related to sexual misconduct where there's mandatory consultation by the conduct
authority in the field have increased by about 29 per cent. They will consult
with the CARD shop so they will have access to legal counsel to help them with
Mr. Paulson: We've redefined sexual misconduct. In fact we
just promulgated that a couple of weeks ago. It is a very broad understanding.
It's not just to say sexual harassment or sexual assault even but how sexual
misconduct should be understood in the force very broadly.
The purpose of that mandatory consultation is to make sure that
those types of behaviours that feature sexual misconduct are bought up in the
system and mandatorily reported to me personally, and that they seek
consultation on conduct measures being sought and managed in those cases.
That was one of the failures in the CPC case. All those
recommendations were very helpful at refining our approach to our conduct
Senator McPhedran: Just to come back around one more time
to the questions of monitoring and reporting, could you please say more about
how you're actually going to measure “improvements” and how you're then going to
report on those “improvements?”
Mr. Paulson: My colleague has a 200-slide deck that he
provided me with this morning. It was year two of our data analysis on all of
these measures that we've brought to bear.
It is very instructive on what's going on in the force. It is not
exclusively on matters related to sexual misconduct because they are, I say,
although very public not that big a problem in terms of the overall conduct
regime of the force.
We have a very elaborate, mandatory computer reporting system
that allows us to draw conclusions around who is doing what to whom and how
often, and what the respective authorities are doing about it. As I say, the
second-year data is being interpreted now. It's available. I would be happy to
make sure that the committee is briefed on our findings there. It's very
expansive, and I would do it an injustice to try to speak to it.
There are improvements in some areas. There are challenges in
Senator McPhedran: If I may, could I just ask that the
methodology could be included with that, please?
Mr. Paulson: Indeed.
Senator Lankin: I have one question on a different area
but just a request for filing of information.
I think, commissioner, one of the things we're looking for is
trying to understand what you will see as success as this is rolled out. You're
in the second year of data filing. Assistant Commissioner Lafrance is beginning
work in phase one this year to bring in an engagement and workplace culture
When you have the actual outcome measures you are seeking to
achieve, along with the methodology, I would appreciate it if those could be
filed with us and your ongoing approach to monitoring.
It's across a number of subjects. It's not just the sexual
misconduct subject. It is on a range of these workplace issues. I would
appreciate that and the GBA+ analysis, wherever you're at in terms of a baseline
when you have that, so we can see that on an ongoing basis.
My question is with respect to your testimony earlier and your
comments about your concerns of the trend in policing for escalating
military-style tools. I have seen some pictures from U.S. municipalities of
heavy armoured equipment, tanks and those sorts of things being bought surplus
from the military and being deployed in policing activities.
It certainly is not something we would expect to see in a
Canadian context. We still worry about what the colour of our police cars are
and whether they are friendly or menacing in communities. To see a tank rolling
down the street would be shocking.
You have a great concern about that, and I am wondering: Have
there been incidents within the RCMP that you would say are troubling with
respect to a demand for or even a movement for purchasing of military-style
tools? Do you see any trends in either behaviour or the attitude of your
frontline staff or their direct management toward this militarization of
Mr. Paulson: I do. In my opening remarks I think I used
the word “afraid” because I am afraid. There seems to be a tension between the
necessary component of a police officer's available response, use of force, and
all of the attendant issues and how that force is applied versus the preventive
engagement with communities and individuals in circumstances to avoid using
Historically, one has been seen to be more aligned with policing
than the other. Yet our mandate in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act has an
equal responsibility for us to prevent crime and to enforce laws.
It is a continual tension. We need to develop within our
frontline officers that problem-solving mentality, a more strategic view of
what's at stake when they do use force, and how some of the issues like the
carbine issue are very electric. Very emotive discussions go around the carbine
and the use of our tanks. We have all that equipment. We have tanks. We have
drones. We have machine guns. Are we going to be going after shoplifters with a
Our policies have been refined to think that through but the
practice is what Canadians see. We need to be very mindful about how we present
ourselves and how we engage with the public.
Senator Lankin: I have a follow-up to that. You also made
reference to ongoing and perhaps expanded efforts in terms of community
I am familiar with the service and the importance they have over
the last number of years put on community outreach, disruptive strategies, and a
range of things that flow from that, certainly focused on youth radicalization
Could you give us a snapshot of what the parallel to that is in
terms of the RCMP?
Mr. Paulson: In our contracting responsibility we have, as
do many major police forces, all the major cities, and the other two provincial
police forces, community access points and available lines into communities to
both consult and engage with when things happen. We have that infrastructure, if
I can call it that, in place.
In the national security context we rely on our partners in the
major cities across the country and our own to deliver a host of initiatives.
For example, post-attack in Quebec City last week we convened the Canadian
Association of Chiefs of Police Counter Terrorism and National Security
Committee. We talked about the need to reach out to all of our respective Muslim
communities to make sure they had an appreciation of what the facts were in
Quebec, what was happening there and what the risk was to them.
We were able to use existing infrastructures that not just the
RCMP but the police in particular, our city partners and our provincial partners
have. That is a great tool to be able to access community leaders in very
The Chair: Could you, commissioner, update us in a general
sense in respect to the question of the terrorism threat in Canada. There are
more and more Canadians who have been involved in terrorism coming back to
Canada. Are you able to ascertain what those numbers are and perhaps tell us
what we can expect in the future, please?
Mr. Paulson: I know my colleague in the service has been
throwing numbers around. We have been trying to avoid throwing numbers around.
That won't please you, but I am not going to do it.
We can say that the state of operations is steady. We have noted
that we continue to redeploy resources into the CP world, to prioritize our
cases and to work with our partners. I haven't seen any real diminution of
activity, so we continue to be challenged to address the threats as they present
themselves, although I think we have been very successful in doing that so far.
I know that there is a renewed interest in the non-classic
terrorist case. Now we're talking about the offender that was present in Quebec.
We have worked in partnership with police agencies on what I'll call the
criminal extremists as evidenced by the crime in Quebec. We have files on those.
That's a bit severe but I wouldn't say it's broadly the case across Canada. We
are doubling down our efforts with our police partners to make sure we have a
full sense of the picture there.
The Chair: Just as an observation, other countries on an
ongoing basis publish numbers in respect to what is occurring in their countries
and in their communities so people have a sense of the scope of the problem that
you're facing and that we're all facing. I would say that there is another way
of looking at it. It would be to the public's advantage to know that.
On the other side, what you call the criminal extremist side, are
we seeing an increase in that area? We cannot express our sorrow enough for the
unfortunate event in Quebec, but is there an increase in this particular type of
activity as well, from your perspective?
Mr. Paulson: There's not an increase in that particular
type of activity, but I think everyone would agree there is a more caustic tone
to the political discourse that seems to attract, agitate and radicalize people
of all persuasions to engage, particularly those who know hardly anything about
it. That represents a concern for us. Everybody is concerned about that,
including the service and other police forces. We are doing everything we can to
get our heads around that.
As an example, Freeman on the Land out in the west, we have had
numerous encounters with that kind of criminality and other instances. I
wouldn't say it's overtaking the classic terrorism threat, but it's something we
shouldn't lose sight of as we pursue these other threats.
The Chair: I don't think anybody is arguing that. What we
were trying to ascertain is just exactly what is the scope of the threat. What
is the magnitude? What are we facing? More importantly, from our point of view,
do you have the resources to be able to deal with the day-to-day problems you
have? Nobody on this committee, commissioner, wants your job. I can guarantee
I have a question for the public record on an ongoing issue about
the vice admiral in the navy and whether or not he is under investigation. That
individual has been on the front page. His professional credibility is obviously
in question. Can you give us an update?
Mr. Paulson: I cannot give you an update. If you had
questions relating to his duty status I think those are properly placed before
The Chair: Colleagues, we have come to the end. Thank you,
commissioner, for taking the time to appear before us. We are looking forward to
your next visit and I am sure you are as well. I thank your staff for coming as
Colleagues, I would like to introduce our new panel. Joining us
today, to give us an update from the perspective of RCMP members themselves, is
Brian Sauvé, National Executive Co-Chair of the National Police Federation, and
Peter Merrifield, National Executive Co-Chair of the National Police Federation.
Welcome back to the committee, Mr. Sauvé and Mr. Merrifield. We
appreciate your being here to give us an update on the issues related to RCMP
members. I understand you have an opening statement.
Brian Sauvé, National Executive Co-Chair, National Police
Federation: Good afternoon, Mr. Chair, committee members and guests. My name
is Brian Sauvé. I'm a regular member of the RCMP, presently on leave without pay
in my role as a co-chair of the National Police Federation. It has been my
honour to serve Canadians as a member of the RCMP and continues to be such an
Mr. Peter Merrifield, also a co-chair of the National Police
Federation, is here with me and we will both be able to take your questions.
We formed the NPF, National Police Federation, last spring to
seek to become the certified bargaining agent for members, reservists and
special constables of the RCMP. We are nearing 4,000 regular members, reservists
and special constables who have joined the NPF. For those of you who don't know
the numbers, that is almost one in four across Canada and internationally who
have joined us.
Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today on
behalf of those members.
The invite from the clerk suggested to us a general discussion
about the temperature of frontline members and what those members of the RCMP
see as frustrations in their day-to-day duties. We are more than willing to
discuss what we have seen as we have travelled through almost every province and
territory in the past year and held almost 60 town hall information sessions in
those cities and towns. We also did an online survey late last fall in which
almost 1,500 members of the RCMP responded to identify key issues and concerns.
We can most certainly say that the evolving labour relations
framework in the RCMP is a frustration. However, members of the RCMP have
expressed to us that pay, resource levels, transfers and relocations, benefits
and pension, to name a few, are top of mind for our membership.
This should be no surprise. As you heard from the previous
witnesses, compared to 80 police forces with over 50 police officers the RCMP
are presently ranked 72 out of those 80 as recently as December 2016. In other
words, 71 other local police forces are better paid than our national police
force. This is shameful.
Aside from pay, resource levels are the number one concern our
membership have expressed to us. Without representation or collective
representation, there is no resolution in sight.
In our travels to many detachment areas one thing to us is clear:
The RCMP does not have the human resources to provide the level of service it
has committed to providing municipalities, provinces and the people of Canada.
This is frustrating for all members as we are a committed group who joined the
RCMP to serve the people of Canada.
The commitment and dedication of our membership is also the
vulnerability of that same membership. Our commitment leads our members to
accept excessive overtime and the consequent reduction in a healthy work life
balance and ultimately burnout.
Add in the fact that a member of the RCMP can walk over to any
large police service and be paid close to or in excess of $20,000 per year more,
with fewer or no mobility requirements and retention/recruiting becomes a
serious problem with no end in sight.
The NPF is very close to being in a position to apply for
certification on behalf of members of the RCMP. We intend to be open and
constructive and to negotiate with the RCMP and Treasury Board to find equitable
solutions to these problems for the benefit of all members. This would
ultimately allow the membership of the RCMP to provide years of exceptional
service to Canadians and live up to the iconic expectations and reputation that
come with wearing the red serge.
Your work here is very important to our membership, and we
welcome any questions you may have.
Senator Kenny: My first question would be to ask you if
you have any comments that you would like to make on the testimony you've heard
for the last hour and a half.
Mr. Sauvé: Where shall we begin? Shall we go all the way
to the mental health strategy, or shall we start with resource levels and 4 to 6
per cent vacancy rates?
Senator Kenny: Start soon because we're running out of
Mr. Sauvé: Before my experience in the RCMP I was in
private industry, as was my co-chair here. We both joined the force in our 30s.
We had careers before. Mine was in corporate banking and his was in more sales
I am a numbers guy, basically. We have 17,600 members of the
RCMP. Approximately a thousand of them could be on family-related leave,
paternal or maternal, and a thousand of them could be off sick in any capacity,
whether it be long term or short term. Then we have those who are dealing with
annual training, whether it is a two-week course, a one-day course or a
week-long course. We also have to deal with those 450 funded but unoccupied
vacancies because we don't have the bodies, to start with, to put those in
place. Right there, 2,500 and possibly 3,000 members are not showing up or not
available to show up any given day for work and the 17,600-member force is cut
down to 14,600.
Can we get the job done when we are 15 to 16 per cent short on
bodies daily? The answer earlier today was: “Yes, we can. We're only 4 to 6
per cent nationally.” The reality is the majority of our members serve in small
communities with three, four, six, or ten-member detachments. If one member
breaks a leg in a four-member detachment that is a 25 per cent vacancy rate.
When you start talking about creating deployment teams that are
going to fly in to supplement the resources, where are those bodies coming from
in the first place? What job are they giving up? What crime are we not going to
investigate so that Lac La Biche can have someone come in to replace someone who
broke a leg? That's the challenge we face.
It's nice for me to say that we are in a resource crunch. That is
identifying a problem but it is not telling you what the solution is. The
solution is to have hard discussions about the mandate we have provided to
Do we talk about the service levels we are willing to provide
provincially, municipally and federally? Do we talk about how we perhaps cut
back on those service levels? Do we have to be honest with our contracting
partners and say that in Cranbrook, British Columbia, we're going to need 24
per cent more bodies, for example, to continue to provide the service level, or
perhaps we will have to stop writing traffic tickets?
The Chair: Mr. Merrifield, do you have any comments to
make on that?
Peter Merrifield, National Executive Co-Chair, National Police
Federation: I think you have some very insightful members on the committee.
Senator Boniface once led the second largest and my second-favourite police
force in the country. Senator White once proudly wore the red wool and then led
a couple of other agencies. Others of you have some law enforcement background.
It's great to have senior management of the organization come in.
With no disrespect to any who have held the spot in senior management, there's a
saying I like to use: The least amount of fog is closest to the ground. When we
talk to the constables, the corporals and the sergeants out doing the job, we
see things a little differently.
These human resource crises are real and they are huge. We have
members that have enormous leave banks because they can't take their annual
leave. They are burning out and suffering from PTSD because there aren't people
to replace them. We're going into communities as the dollar store of policing.
We are the lowest bidder. There is no competition. Then when they sign the
contract, the federal government gives them anywhere from a 10 to a 30 per cent
discount on top of us being the lowest price. There is no room for improvement
in this mechanism between the government, the RCMP and its contract partners.
I challenge your Senate colleagues and members of the House to
find another federal department that is 72nd
out of 80 in its pay universe. I dare say you will not find one.
You're asking young men and women, and old men and women like me
with creaky knees, to serve Canadians and make them safe. We do it proudly. I've
seen members of the RCMP, not unlike other Canadian police officers, make
tremendous sacrifices. We are burning them out. We cannot continue at this pace.
Does it mean we withdraw from certain municipal contracts and
other contracts so that we can stave off the human resource crisis where we just
don't have the bodies to fill? These are options that we have to look at.
First and foremost, we have to start being an attractive employer
to new recruits.
Second, we have to stave off the mid-career retention issue that
we're facing where they are leaving either for other careers because they are
millennials and they can walk away from policing scot-free, or they go to other
police agencies simply because they are better remunerated and better treated
and have less issues and concerns over mobility.
Then we have to look at the back end. We have a crisis in the
RCMP where it was an assumption in our human resource management that members
would work a minimum of 30 years. That is not the case. The average discharge
now is around 25 years of service, so we also have a retention crisis at the
back end where we're losing corporate knowledge and ability.
We might have to look at something outside the box, as the
military did, where we look at retention and bonuses to keep people beyond
certain years and where we look at their specific skill sets and create bonuses.
We really have to break the mould, ladies and gentlemen, because to continue
doing things the way we have always done them for the last 150 years of the
RCMP, we can then only expect to get the same result, and the result right now
is not very good.
Senator Kenny: Could you please explain to the committee
why the RCMP should have more pay? What circumstances are different about the
RCMP that would make more pay reasonable? At the same time, if I can just tack
it on, could you explain to us why you think we got into the pay situation we're
in now, where the RCMP lags behind so badly?
Mr. Sauvé: Essentially, 2008-2009 was the start of an
effective pay freeze through the Expenditure Restraint Act. We have been without
a pay package since January 1, 2015, so I would argue that we have effectively
been in seven years or going on eight years of a pay freeze.
As far as getting more money, why should our members be paid
more? I would also table the notion that we are the most complex police force in
the world. We do it all. Whether we talk about anti-terrorism, international
deployments, federal investigations, sensitive investigations, contract and
non-contract, municipal, provincial, traffic, general duty, major crimes or
homicide, we do it all. I do not think there is a police force in the world that
does what the RCMP does. In order to maintain and improve the reputation of the
RCMP as one of the best police forces in the world, its employees should be
commensurately compensated according to comparative police forces.
We could only compare ourselves in Canada to the OPP, the Toronto
Police Service or the Vancouver Police Service. Those are our comparative
universes. Do we bring in the FBI as a national-federal and compare ourselves to
them as well? I don't think so. I think we want to stay within Canada. I could
walk out the door tomorrow as a sergeant in the RCMP and make more money as a
constable in the OPP, and that is wrong.
Senator Kenny: I was expecting you to talk a bit about
Mr. Sauvé: We could talk about that too.
Senator Kenny: Should there be a bonus for families that
are uprooted when the member in their family gets a transfer and is required to
Mr. Sauvé: That brings in some more complications. I was
trying to be as simplistic as I could, but we can delve more into the weeds.
When a member leaves Depot, they can be posted to their province
of choice if they were recruited out of Manitoba west, but my understanding is
that the majority of our applicants come from Ontario so they are deployed
We will have junior members going to Fond du Lac, Saskatchewan,
and have never been there before. The junior members that we recruit could be
married or single. In their first five to ten years, they may find their
soulmates and get married.
Another uprooting may happen where they are going to Surrey,
British Columbia, coming down to Regina or going to Calgary. That usually means
that their partners will have to leave their jobs and move with them.
Do you have stability in the family income where your partner as
a nurse or an educator has to leave their job and start over in another province
or another community? That impacts your total compensation as a family unit over
your entire career.
Peter can speak to his experience going from F Division to O
Division. I haven't move. The Lower Mainland wouldn't let me go, so I haven't
been able to get out of there. Yes, sacrifices to the family unit, sacrifices to
education and sacrifices now since without representation our members have lost
some of their medical benefits with respect to isolated posts.
It used to be if there was an issue with respect to urgent
medical care, the force would fly you out and take care of you. Now they've
cost-cut it and said, “That's going to be one of your vacation trips,” and off
you go. Again that is a pushback.
A lot of sacrifices are made, and I don't discount them. Having
been up to Yellowknife and Whitehorse and trying to get up to Inuvik, it has
been an education for me to see the challenges faced by our membership, even
with respect to travel in those places to get from one community to a Costco in
the next community, for example.
Senator Kenny: Are there issues with kids?
Mr. Sauvé: There are huge issues with kids. Earlier today
the commissioner was talking about increasing supplemental benefits. That's
fantastic if you're in a major centre, but try to find an acupuncturist, a
chiropractor or a registered massage therapist in Twin Oaks, Manitoba; Gods Lake
Narrows, Manitoba; or Old Crow, Yukon. You may have those benefits and they may
be worth some part of your total compensation, which is what the deputy was
speaking to, but you really can't use them unless you're using them on one of
your vacations. Now you're taking up your vacation time to take advantage of
some of your compensation.
What is it? Am I using my annual leave or am I taking care of my
Thank you Mr. Sauvé and Mr. Merrifield. You mentioned the fact that some
senators used to be police officers. I, myself, spent 39 years with the Sûreté
du Québec. I was the president of the union. Fortunately, our association was in
a position to negotiate with the employer, and we were able to obtain benefits
and decent wages as a result.
I do, however, fully
appreciate the situation because the government of Quebec cut down on hiring for
a period of seven years, so we ended up with two patrols in a small detachment
that covered an area made up of 12 municipalities.
Not only is the safety of
police officers at stake, but so too, is the safety of the public. When there
aren’t enough officers to cover an area, people have to wait for help to arrive,
and sometimes those people are in distress. The government has a duty to ensure
the safety of citizens.
According to reports, the
RCMP is short at least a thousand police officers. Given your experience, could
you tell us what changes management should introduce to make it easier to
recruit police officers and attract more applicants? I can imagine what your
answer will be; you will no doubt have some very commendable recommendations,
but I would like to hear what you have to say on the subject.
I have a question about
trained officers who become disillusioned with the RCMP and leave the force for
other police departments. Many of them have joined the Sûreté du Québec, in
fact. Is it a significant phenomenon? The employer needs to remember that
training a police officer in Regina isn’t cheap and that other police
departments are quite happy to scoop up officers who are already trained.
I would like to hear
where you stand on the subject. I am also curious as to whether the departure of
RCMP officers is an issue that has been receiving a lot of attention since you
came on the job.
The Chair: Perhaps I could just interject here. I would
ask everyone to be more concise in their questions and answers because we don't
have a lot of time.
Mr. Merrifield: To a degree you've taken our thunder. At
the end of the day this isn't about our making a plea for a raise for members of
the RCMP. This is really about public safety. You've hit the nail exactly on the
We got emails from our members in 12 zones less than four or five
days ago. Twelve officers should have reported for duty and only five came. This
is unacceptable. First, the police officers responding to emergencies were put
at risk but more importantly the public did not get the response levels they
I have used the example of a place like Surrey. If five officers
show up I am missing two or three zones of coverage. If an officer goes on a
10-33, which is an emergency call for service, you drop everything you are doing
and get there as quickly as you can with lights and sirens. Now the officer is
at risk, travelling at high rates of speed. You have to worry about
intersections with the public going about their business on a routine day. You
have pedestrians. You have the people who are calling for the service and the
officer that has to go into a dangerous situation alone. None of this is good
Your question was about what we
would like to see and what is the short-term fix. To go back a bit to the other
senator's question about why the pay raise, we need to attract the best people.
I can't run an anti-corruption unit without the right skill set. I can't run a
cybercrime unit without the properly trained people. Unless the RCMP becomes a
preferred employer for skilled applicants, I can't just train them at Depot. I
need people with the right degree. I need people with the right background. I
need to be a preferred employer.
Being 72nd in the pay
universe, having to deal with issues of mobility, and being told you will likely
go to one of the western provinces and spend 10 or 15 years in uniform right
now, it's hard for me to go to Silicon Valley to attract someone who is a code
writer to work in the technology unit. They're not interested in going to a
remote jurisdiction to do general duty policing.
I have to look at my mission-specific human resources needs. I
haven't seen that out of the senior management of the RCMP. I am not indicting
them. I just simply haven't seen it. If they're prepared to come to you and show
they have a skill set specific human resource recruitment plan, I welcome it. In
the absence of it I don't believe it exists.
Senator White: In 2003, the federal government of Canada
put in place Public Safety Canada. It was anticipated that it would come out
with a number of things particularly around police standards, standards of
service, maybe minimum competency levels and maybe response time service.
With 198 police agencies in this country today and the fact that
the RCMP, although the largest, are often the smallest in 780 or 800 of those
communities, is it not time that the federal government grew up into what was
expected of the public safety department in 2003 and actually set some standards
and identify that there should not be one-person detachments. Often the RCMP has
one person with support staff a 45-minute flight or drive away? Isn't that
really what we're talking about?
We could talk about the pay issue all day. We know you are seven
years behind and tens of thousands of dollars per officer behind. We are talking
about standards, and we don't have standards in the country. I could hire
Senator Lang tomorrow in Yukon as a police officer, but I would not be able to
hire him in Ontario because we haven't set national standards.
Mr. Sauvé: We can only speak from an RCMP-specific
standpoint. I agree that, yes, it would be time for at least us to set some
standards, as long as those standards include some good police resource
What does a community like Chilliwack, British Columbia, require
for its population? What does a community like Kelowna or Airdrie or Fort
Saskatchewan require for policing? What would that standard look like? One of
the reasons it hasn't happened is because we would have to probably grow in size
by 25 per cent.
Senator White: Looking at Surrey and Vancouver as a
comparison, what's the difference in manpower, pop-to-cop ratio or number of
officers per 100,000? What is the difference?
Mr. Sauvé: The easiest example is Surrey is a growing
community. It is one of the fastest growing in Canada, with the population
closing in on 700,000. I live in Vancouver, with a population of 750,000. The
authorized strength of Vancouver PD is closing in on 1,400 gun-toting police
officers and the authorized strength in Surrey, B.C. is about 750.
Senator Lankin: At one point in time in my background I
came out of being a union negotiator in a public sector union. I came into that
union out of Corrections. I have some sense of a lot of the things you have
talked about, and I am empathetic to them.
In dealing with the issue of workplace sexual harassment and
sexual misconduct, we recognized as a union that we had to do our own education
of our members and set in place a member-to-member harassment policy. Not only
our union but many unions have moved down that road.
Can you tell me what your federation has done specifically around
the very major problem within the force in terms of workplace culture and
responsibility complementary to management's clear responsibility? What steps
have you taken to take action on it?
Mr. Merrifield: We're not certified and that's the
problem. From a policy preparation perspective we have adopted as a governance
principle and model that there will not be, nor will there ever be, an
acceptance or that old school union philosophy of hiding the bad apple.
Our greatest concern right now is the culture change in what we
are told today in training by senior RCMP management. Three of the four
mandatory courses are referenced online. We log on and put check in the box.
Then we can come here and testify to you that we are compliant.
Several of those courses, including sexual misbehaviour, are
online click on and click-off check boxes. Changing a culture takes a lot more
than that. It has to be instituted at day one from training. If we're not
instituting this as part of the curriculum at Depot and setting high conduct
standards with our officers then we're failing them.
We have to break the cycle in policing that policing is a job for
life. If you're not cut out for policing, if are not morally and ethically the
right person, you are fired. In the private sector I fired people. If they could
not do the job, I got rid of them. In policing, in the RCMP in particular, it
appears in many cases we just transfer them or sometimes promote them. It is
horrible. That's the problem.
Whether it's bullying or sexual misconduct that takes place in
the workplace, in the corporate sector you're not immune from it as a president
or an EVP. I personally know of someone who was making $14 million a year as a
CEO and sexual misconduct cost them their job.
The Chair: I don't think you've answered her question as
to whether or not you have your own policy.
Senator Lankin: Certified or not, you're a federation. You
have a membership. You have meetings, conventions and activities. You'll be
getting to that point. If you haven't done this, I recommend that you be part of
the solution. You as a proposed bargaining agent need to have policies and
procedures in place to deal with complaints about member-to-member harassment
when they come forward in the context of union activities. I'll leave it at
The Chair: Was that an agreement?
Mr. Merrifield: Yes, it is. We're 10 months in and
struggling on the membership drive side.
Senator Jaffer: I will follow up with what Senator Lankin
was talking about, culture. I hear a lot from members of the RCMP is that the
culture, especially at the top, is not a well-being culture. It's a power
relationship culture. Rules are set and members and non-civilian members have to
follow them, but they don't apply to managers. What has your experience been?
Mr. Merrifield: Pretty much your comment, senator. The
perception I share with most members is that there is a state of hypocrisy. Not
by all; I've met fantastic leaders in our organization but I've also met
horrible people that should have been discharged.
At the end of the day we have a culture of right and privilege
rather than a sense of responsibility and leadership. That is where things go
Senator Meredith: On the same question as that of
Senator Jaffer on the desire to change. We heard from Commissioner Paulson his
view on the organization. It's challenging, complex and underfunded.
What recommendations have you made as a federation to the RCMP?
How receptive have they been about recommendations obviously coming from the
We're all concerned about the safety of officers who are deployed
and are dealing with family and emotional stresses. You've come together as a
federation to address these issues. How receptive are they? Has anything been
implemented in your 10 months? Have you seen a shift or is it still ground zero?
Mr. Merrifield: They don't speak to us. That is the short
answer based on time. They haven't accepted any recommendations. They have never
sat at the table. There's no collective representation currently for any members
of the RCMP to senior management of the RCMP.
We have to understand that with the demise of the last internal
system there is no collective voice. Members have no access to officer safety
issues. I used to sit on the RCMP National Health and Safety Policy Committee
in relation to the Canada Labour Code, as did Mr. Sauvé. That ceased when the
past program was done. They're just sitting and waiting for someone to certify
as a bargaining agent.
Bill C-4 and Bill C-7 are terribly important to the RCMP.
Legislatively, we need to move forward quickly, ladies and gentlemen, because
right now we have zero shield or protection.
Senator Meredith: Can you elaborate for us on that?
Mr. Merrifield: Bill C-4 will help members of the RCMP
reach an attainable goal in order to certify. It changes the threshold for
application of certification as a bargaining agent, which is important for us.
Bill C-7 was an abomination. It was a management-driven bill. It
was a takeaway bill. It was a Trojan horse full of things that hurt members of
the RCMP. It took away our veterans affairs, changed our medical benefits, and
tried to dislodge a national standard of health care for members of the RCMP and
download them on to provincial workers compensation. It was horrible. Thank God
for the Senate and the work you did to alter that bill, to get rid of the
exclusions that existed in that bill, and to give something to the men and women
of the RCMP in the field that helped protect them.
It has been two years since the MPAO decision and, as I said,
probably 17 months since the Supreme Court deadline. I'd love to sit down with
the minister, the Department of Justice and Public Safety, whip up a Royal
Canadian Mounted Police labour relations act with employee content, separate
ourselves from the public service, the PSLRA and the PSLRB, and get to the
business of protecting Canadians.
Senator Beyak: In 2013, this committee recommended
unanimously the creation of a position of ombudsman within the RCMP to look at
the concerns of members. Would you support something like that? Do you think it
would be helpful?
Mr. Merrifield: Yes, we would. In fact we would almost
encourage you to look forward to an inspector general's role, someone who has a
bit of power. They would not be able to interfere in the operations of policing
services, but they would be able to have equal power with the commissioner of
the RCMP when it comes to administrative and non-operational issues. An
ombudsman would be great; an inspector general would be better.
Senator McPhedran: How many women in your organization are
involved in the executive?
Mr. Sauvé: We have been as reflective as we can be about
the diversity of the RCMP. In our constitution our board holds up to 13 people.
It's presently occupied by 10. Two of those are women: one in Alberta, one in
Newfoundland. We're constantly looking for more members who are willing to stand
up. However, a 144-year-old RCMP is very paramilitary and every supervisor has
an impact on your career. It has been difficult to find people who are willing
to put forward a face, a name and a biography to advocate for that cause.
Hopefully, in the next month or so, that will change.
Senator Boniface: I assure you that the fog has cleared.
It has been a while. I wanted to talk about your plan going forward if you were
the bargaining unit. Obviously you had the division rep system at one point and
you have a gap now. What would be your plan going forward in terms of how you
would start to approach this issue? There are lots of other police associations
you could look to.
Mr. Sauvé: We have. We're not acting in isolation. To give
you an idea, there are names that you might be familiar with, like Dale Kinnear
and Peter Ratcliff, who are assisting us on a pro bono basis as advisers. We
realize that this is uncharted territory for us and for members of the RCMP. We
also realize there will be some growing pains. We're going to have a few years
of saying we didn't realize that, we have to learn that, and we have to go
In an overarching strategy we would have to say that since
January 1, 2015, to now we have not seen a pay package. Let's deal with that
first. Let's figure out how we will have something commensurate with the police
universe. Then going forward, we could talk about everything else.
It might take longer to negotiate the hundreds and thousands of
pages of policies and procedures, isolated post benefits and the relocation
policy which just changed this morning.
Starting off we need to deal with pay, which will help to morph
into recruiting and transition. Are we going to start to actively recruit OPP
members to lateral over? Perhaps we’ll do that sort of thing if we're to be more
Senator Boniface: I have more of a statement now than a
question. I was looking more in terms of how you establish the relationship,
because it's the relationship that will in part help you get to where you want
to go. I leave it at that.
Mr. Sauvé: I am sure the commissioner is watching. I
called him “Bob” the last time I was here, so I'll say commissioner today
because I want to rebuild that relationship, shall we say. I would hope it would
be member speaking to member, whether it is Deputy Dubeau, MacMillan, or
Ms. Lafrance. We're all in it for the benefit of the membership at large.
I don't want to see a mentality of us versus them. It's not on
the colour of our shirt. We were all constables at one point in time. We all
went to Depot. We all share that passion. We all go to funerals. It doesn't
matter what stripe is on the pants. It's all about the membership and within
their authority what they can do to improve the lives of the membership. If it's
not within their authority then it's up to us with our certificate to work down
with those in Treasury Board and Treasury Board Secretariat and force their hand
to make life better in the RCMP.
The Chair: We're very pleased that you've taken the time
to come. As you know, we're very concerned about the health of the members of
the RCMP. What you've provided has given us an insight, so I thank you for
Colleagues, joining us in panel three to give us an update, from
the Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada, Mr. Lee Keane, Member of
the Board of Directors, and Louis-Philippe Theriault, Officer.
Welcome, gentlemen. I understand you have an opening statement.
Lee Keane, Member of the Board of Directors, Mounted Police
Professional Association of Canada: My name is Lee Keane. I've been involved
in the association movement for about 22 years and I've been in law enforcement
for 30 years. I'm currently on the board of directors of the Mounted Police
Professional Association of Canada. Thank you for asking me to give testimony
We're talking about the morale of the RCMP, specifically within
the non-commissioned ranks. It has reached crisis levels largely because of
accountability at the managerial hierarchy level. There's an excessive reliance
on the code of conduct process. There's an absence of impartial, effective and
timely recourse procedures. Generally there's a fear of retaliation and
retribution among non-commissioned members. That translates into a lack of
support by immediate and senior managers. It's a nationwide campaign to
systemically discharge members — and right now there is one — disabled in the
line of duty. This is combined with chronic understaffing, lack of transparency
in the promotion process, and a desperate lack of human and material resources.
Enhancing the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability Act
was started purportedly to modernize the RCMP Act. It granted the RCMP
commissioner sweeping new powers intended to modernize the discipline, grievance
and human resource management process for members, with a view to preventing,
addressing and correcting performance and conduct issues in a timely manner.
This was during a period of time when 500 female sexual
harassment complaints were outstanding against various alleged transgressors.
The RCMP's immediate and senior managers negligently failed to address and
resolve these in a timely manner or at all. A large number of these sexual
harassment complaints joined a class action suit, as we all know, and not a
single one of the alleged transgressors will be held accountable for his or her
actions. Neither the RCMP commissioner nor any of the RCMP managers who failed
to take timely, corrective action will be held accountable for his or her action
while they received sustainable executive performance bonuses.
The organization that fails to hold these people accountable and
the people that made those decisions accountable has a direct effect on morale.
Since no one is responsible the blight on the RCMP and its culture is
significant. Essentially this will not be changing any time soon in the
I have knowledge of a recent situation where a member provided a
medical certificate stating that he was unfit for duty to his immediate
supervisor. He was absent for two shifts when an inspector, accompanied by a
sergeant, attended his private residence and demanded to know whether the member
was mentally ill and under the care of a psychiatrist. The inspector demanded to
know whether the member was mentally ill because he did not appear so to the
inspector, who is not a qualified health care professional.
The member explained that he provided the medical certificate as
is his obligation. The inspector threatened to order the member to return to
work under the threat of a code of conduct investigation for failing to obey
that order, despite the presence of a medical certificate.
This was followed by my involvement and the involvement of other
people. I went to the professional standards unit and informed them of that, as
is my obligation when somebody transgresses the code of conduct. It was simply
held as a performance issue with one of the managers. There was an apology but
nobody took any action.
We've since found out that this member is being retaliated
against in numerous ways, and I have since learned of another person who faced
this same circumstance by the same inspector in the mounted police. I can't
generalize but this sort of stuff goes on. I know of two cases by the same
There is excessive use of the code of conduct process. It's used
to address a lot of different things. It's basically an abusive process to
initiate a code of conduct investigation for things that really should be
training or performance issues.
In a recent case in “E” Division two inspectors told a staff
sergeant that due to some work performance concerns, which they refused to
disclose, he was being relieved of his command and reassigned as a one-man task
to work a 30-year-old cold file. Initially the inspector, who was primarily
responsible for supervising a staff sergeant, told him he would provide him with
further information in writing to identify the perceived work performance
deficiencies. He refused to do so and four months later the staff sergeant had a
discussion with a colleague as he hoped to learn what concerns had led to his
being relieved of his command.
As a result, he was suspended from duty and subjected to a code
of conduct proceeding and the imposition of a conduct measure for attempting to
find out what alleged performance deficiencies had led to his being relieved of
his command. To date the grievance and appeal process has failed the staff
We're looking at an absence of an impartial, effective and timely
recourse procedure, which is one of our big issues right now. As I said, a big
problem within the non-commissioned ranks is fear of retaliation and
retribution. Also we have a promotion system that is not performance based. It's
merely based on a resumé and a test, which is unusual in any world.
I will let my colleague speak to some other issues.
Thériault, Officer, Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada: I
will be brief. The personnel shortage is just one element tied to the inadequate
resources at the RCMP. One of the eight recommendations made by Assistant Chief
Judge Daniel Pahl, under Alberta’s Fatality Inquiries Act, in the wake of the
2005 murder of four RCMP members near Mayerthorpe, was to equip RCMP detachments
with patrol carbines.
On October 21, 2011,
Commissioner Elliott announced that RCMP members would have access to such
weapons. Unfortunately, as we saw on June 4, 2014, the RCMP had still not
equipped all of its detachments with these carbines, contributing to the murder
of three other RCMP officers. To this day, the RCMP Commissioner has still not
taken the necessary steps to equip all detachments with the carbines promised by
As a result, the RCMP was
accused of violating the Canada Labour Code by failing to take adequate steps to
ensure the health and safety of its members and provide them with appropriate
Senator Jaffer: Your first paragraph is what I hear about
a lot, especially crisis levels due to the appearance of lack of accountability
within the managerial positions and managers saying they don't have to follow
the rules that have been set up. However, the real questions since the summer
have been on Bill C-7.
We are waiting and waiting and I can imagine it is 100 times
worse for you. What is morale like?
Mr. Keane: To be fair and honest it's abysmal. I am asked
the same question. I am more in a training capacity now. I left the road about
two years ago but most of my career has been in uniform frontline policing. In
fact I worked the same streets as the commissioner and the professional
responsibility officer. I know both of them quite well.
Morale is exactly that. Most probationary members are afraid to
speak their mind, afraid to even talk to me, because they want to pass their
Senator Jaffer: Just as a follow-up, I have heard that he
has been told by the non-commissioned person in your position to just go along
with it because there's not much at this point even you can do to represent
Mr. Keane: All we can do is try. We're not certified but
there are certain things we can do. Getting people to consult us is new to me.
It's nice to be consulted. We don't have any consultation with the end user.
Our association provides an unlimited legal insurance plan for
members who require it. My background is HR. I got bored and went back to school
to get a specialty in HR as part of my graduate degree. I can help people with
concepts including management. Basically I work collaboratively with them. I
have done that a number of times to help both management and the frontline.
Senator Lankin: I appreciate your appearance here today.
Hopefully a number of the things you were speaking about will move to a
different place once Bill C-7 is resolved for us, and depending on what that
resolution is. We as a Senate have already grappled with a lot of things and
have taken a position on.
I also recognize that your efforts and the efforts of the
previous panel that appeared here are focused on organizing and signing up
members. That is where your primary activities lay.
In response to our questions to the commissioner he was very
strong in his assertion that he is trying to lead a change of culture and that's
a big job in an organization like this one.
Mr. Keane: It is a huge task.
Senator Lankin: We understand that. It's not going to
happen overnight. You talked about an ongoing state of fear of retaliation and
retribution, which is clearly reflected in the concern of some people not being
seen to be signing up, active or engaged in the union. It is also with respect
to the health, placement in positions and transfers of people. I made reference
earlier to a book by Deanna Lennox which was exactly about retaliation and
retribution in a PTSD situation.
Is anything the commissioner is committing himself to in terms of
attempting to lead change starting to filter down? He talked about when an
incident happens that they are focused on asking: What are you doing for the
employee? What supports are being put in place?
Do you see that? Do you feel that? If you don't, are you raising
these cases even though you're not certified to the attention of the people who
were here accompanying him and to him himself?
Mr. Keane: To answer your question they are filtering
down, but a case in point is that I just received the training on peer-to-peer
support. I do it anyway. It was nice to know the faces in the room. I have a
relationship with most of those people.
A key problem with the RCMP, and I generalize, is a lack of
willingness to fund things. Let's say the local detachment has a use-of-force
incident, a dead child incident, one of those critical instances that we go to
daily and that can affect us. A peer-to-peer will set up a briefing with a
Members are encouraged to come to that course. They are merely
encouraged to come to it. They are not required to come to it because nobody
will pay them to come to it. They are expected to come to it on their own time.
There is no funding for something like peer-to-peer. If I coordinate it I do it
out of my own pocket.
It's short-sighted but there's no consultation. It’s just,
“Here’s your program”. They don't talk to the user. Who did they consult with?
It wasn't us on the ground floor.
Senator Lankin: We have heard about the salary problems
and other things that seem to be appropriations from the government. Presumably
the RCMP does not have the funds to do this and it's patchwork.
Mr. Keane: I am not an MBA. I took an MA in management
because math scares me. They have funding for a lot of things. I'm not in
charge. Commissioner Paulson is and I don't pretend to tell him how to do his
job because he would never pretend to tell me how to do mine. If you're making
executive bonuses, let's say 10 or 20 per cent of your annual salary, there
absolutely is funding.
Senator McPhedran: You referenced 500 female sexual
harassment complaints, and then you said that not a single transgressor will be
held accountable and some have been promoted.
Mr. Keane: Yes.
Senator McPhedran: Could you share with us on behalf of
your association what should be happening instead?
Mr. Keane: Getting back to the code of conduct and the
misuse of it, if you commit an offence you took an oath and therefore you're
The code of conduct is used now merely to punish people for what
used to be used for training them. On the case in point, the inspector I spoke
of who goes to people's houses and intimidates his way in the door and bullies
members was not held accountable. It wasn't really a performance issue and there
was an apology.
Senator McPhedran: I am wondering if you could address my
question was about the 500 female sexual harassment complaints.
Mr. Keane: They should be subject to a code of conduct and
criminal charges, and we are not aware of anybody that has been.
I would like to thank our witnesses. Mr. Thériault, when we spoke before the
committee meeting began, you mentioned that you used to be an RCMP officer in
Moncton and that you worked on patrol. Is that correct?
Having been a patrol officer, myself, I know that patrol officers are, to some
extent, overlooked by the organization. In a heated push to combat terrorism,
funding and equipment will, of course, flow. It is not as easy, however, for
RCMP officers to obtain equipment on a routine basis.
You were an officer in
Moncton. You mentioned the murder of the officers in Mayerthorpe, and,
unfortunately, three officers were also killed in Moncton. You brought up the
lack of patrol carbines. Is there other equipment that would help you do your
job, if only more patrol vehicles? Tell us about the lack of equipment and
Mr. Thériault: I
should point out that we are now well-equipped in Moncton. Unfortunately, the
RCMP tends to be more reactive than proactive. The rollout of carbines had begun
in 2014 when the incident occurred. We are talking about a lack of equipment,
but outdated equipment is also a problem. Despite being long-overdue, radio
system improvements were made only recently. We would be two or three miles away
from the police station and have to communicate using our cell phones because of
how difficult it was to use the radio. Clearly, that isn’t the best solution.
When we talk about
equipment, we are talking about weapons and conducted energy weapons. We are
better-equipped now. Equipment rollout and training have been very slow. Freeing
up officers to train them on new equipment is often a rather complicated affair:
we are short-staffed on the ground, but we need to train officers. When we don’t
have enough patrols, we put people at risk, including RCMP officers. When we
don’t have enough office staff in a federal unit, no one is at risk. When 10 or
12 officers are normally needed to cover a shift and that number is cut by a
third or half, responding to calls involving violent situations means taking a
Unfortunately, we are
receiving more and more calls requiring us to respond in situations where people
have firearms. In those cases, all officers have to be in the perimeter to
respond to the call. That means they cannot respond to other calls, which have
to wait until the situation is resolved.
Senator White: My question will be surrounding the words
“militarization of policing” in particular and specifically relating to some of
the things that came out of the 2005 shooting in Alberta. Whether ballistic
vests, light armoured vehicles or C7 or CB carbines I keep hearing it thrown out
as if the police don't deserve to have the tools necessary to save their lives
and protect the public. We heard it here again today.
Most police agencies across the country have carbines. Every
police service in Ontario has them but nobody sees them. It's not like they are
running around the streets carrying them except on October 22 when we had an
attack on the Hill.
I wanted to give you a chance to talk about the terminology
“militarization of policing” versus appropriate access to the tools you need to
do your job.
Mr. Theriault: I hear that term a lot. I'll give an
example: If they see a black rifle they say it's a military rifle. If it's
brown, they say it's a hunting rifle. People don't see the difference.
We have to adapt our technology and equipment to the challenges
that we face. We know that the criminals have access to more and more equipment
through the black market and underground market, but we have to be equipped to
respond to those threats and protect our members. If we can't protect our
members, we can't protect the public.
Mr. Keane: In business school I learned about SWOT
analysis: strengths, weaknesses, opportunity and trends. As a use-of-force
instructor since 1994 I have never seen a holistic examination on use-of-force
policies from the RCMP. It all operates in silos.
That's something that definitely needs to be dealt with. With the
collective agreement we would sit on that committee and do exactly that.
Senator White: We're not suggesting that the police look
like the military.
Mr. Keane: No, but it's a needs analysis, sir. I agree
Senator Meredith: Thank you for your candidness in terms
of this discussion of matters that this committee is very keen on moving forward
with. Mr. Theriault and Senator White mentioned safety and the equipment needed
to ensure that officers and the general public are protected.
I am posing a combined question with respect to morale and
organizational change taking place within the RCMP. Then there is terrorism and
terrorism financing. Could you look at how that will be balanced out?
A staff member on the previous panel mentioned sick time, leave
and so forth. If I were an officer, I would be looking to see how I protect
myself emotionally, financially and so forth, and then the other aspect of the
broader terrorism piece would sort of take a backseat.
Could you elaborate on how to balance out equipment and
organizational needs at this time?
Mr. Keane: It comes down to consultation. Nobody has ever
consulted the end user. A lot of the stuff is top-down and Ottawa driven. The
user in Nova Scotia and the user in Chilliwack, British Columbia, could need two
different things. We have that ability with a collective agreement and the
people I represent have some great knowledge on all of those subjects. Why don't
we just talk to them?
I don't know what studies they are using. That's an issue too.
For a lot of the stuff I have seen come down there's nothing to support it.
Scientific support would be good.
My question is for Mr. Thériault. You indicated earlier that a discrepancy
existed between what RCMP leadership commits to publicly and what it does in
reality. You cited the example of Alberta, where four officers were
unfortunately killed. The leadership pledged to provide officers with better
weapons, but it did not do so.
Can you give us other
examples of commitments made publicly, during parliamentary committee
proceedings or otherwise, that RCMP leadership did not honour?
Mr. Thériault: An
observation I made, while working in Moncton and in speaking with many other
people across the country, was that management would frequently point to the
future implementation of measures to fill vacant positions or those left
temporarily vacant as a result of paternity, maternity or long-term sick leave,
for example. Oftentimes, those positions were not staffed. Management tells us
that they are looking into the situation, but we don’t necessarily see any
changes on the ground.
Do you have any other examples?
Mr. Thériault: It
is clear that the RCMP is a cumbersome bureaucracy that can be slow to take
action. In the case of the carbines we were talking about, other police
departments and federal forces acquired the equipment up to a decade before us.
It took many studies and a considerable amount of time before the RCMP acquired
It took a long time
before we got ballistic plates. My unit did not get them until 2013, but we
don’t understand why it took so long for the RCMP to provide us with the
equipment when other federal forces already had it. We were also talking about
radios. In many jurisdictions such as St. Albert and Moncton, we have trouble
communicating with one another because of the radios and systems that are 20 to
30 years old, or more.
The Chair: I want to thank our witnesses for appearing. We
very much appreciate the time you have taken out of your schedule. If you have
anything further you want to add, please send it to us in writing and we will
definitely peruse it.
Joining us in panel four for an update is Mr. Charles Mancer,
Vice-President, Quebec Mounted Police Members Association, accompanied by
Marc-André Fournier, Director. We understand you have an opening statement.
Vice-President, Quebec Mounted Police Association: My name is Charles
Mancer, and joining me is my colleague Marc-André Fournier. I am the
vice-president of the Quebec Mounted Police Association. My presentation will be
short. Above all, I would like to tell you a bit about myself and my area of
expertise to give you some insight into who I am. We would then be happy to
answer your questions.
I have been with the RCMP
for 17 years. I began my career in Surrey, British Columbia. I spent three years
in the force working on contract. I then worked in Montreal, mainly in the area
of financial crimes such as money laundering and fraud, and that became my
specialty. I also worked as an employee representative under the former division
staff relations representative program, which the Supreme Court ruled was
unconstitutional. I am also an adviser under the new system that the RCMP
introduced on May 17 of last year, in response to the Supreme Court’s decision.
I have done studies in
various fields, including two years in engineering and two years in management
at McGill University, where I earned a certificate. I have a degree in civil law
from Université de Montréal and a degree in common law from the University of
Ottawa. I am also a member of the Ontario bar.
Over the past 12 months,
I have spent a tremendous amount of time, as association vice-president, trying
to convince RCMP members to meet the legal requirements to establish a union.
Convincing members to sign cards has been very tough.
The first important point
I would like to make is this. The people working in RCMP associations are
volunteers. The situation is very different from those set out in other pieces
of legislation you will consider; in those statutes, unions have significant
financial resources. Our associations do not have the luxury of such financial
resources. We operate on a volunteer basis through amounts paid by RCMP members.
The big difference, legally speaking, is that RCMP members do not have the right
to join a union.
I met with members of the
metalworkers union, and I learned that they have a strike fund of $400 million
and extensive resources. They told me that, for a union representing
18,000 employees — which would be more or less comparable to our situation in
the RCMP — they would have a budget in the neighbourhood of $9 million. We are a
long way from having millions of dollars in our budget.
In order to better serve
the public, it is necessary to resolve the union issue swiftly, and the solution
needs to take into account funding and the work done by volunteers like
Marc-André and me in our spare time. The sooner a union is established, the
sooner you will be able to address the issues you are examining to us so that we
can discuss them against the backdrop of a balanced employer-employee
I would now be glad to
answer any questions you have.
Thank you for being here. We very much appreciate it.
In your appearance on Bill C-7 you stated that there were a
number of exclusions and you were quite vocal in the internal grievance process.
You were saying that at the moment there's an internal grievance process run by
the RCMP. These internal grievance decision makers are commissioned officers but
they're below the commissioner. Aside from the bias inherent in that they cannot
make decisions that the commissioner does not like. Do you still hold that same
Mr. Mancer: Could you repeat the end of your question
about the commissioner?
Senator Jaffer: These officers immediately under the
commissioner of police tend to make decisions that the commissioner likes.
That's what you said last time. I want to know if the situation is still the
Mr. Mancer: The
situation is still the same. Improvements were made, and a reformed RCMP
grievance system came into force in November 2014. The improvements, however,
are not sufficient. What is important to understand is that members file
grievances in an effort to find a solution to their problem. Under the old
system, it took five to six years to arrive at a result. It now takes between
one and two years. If a member turns to the officers to resolve their problem
and a resolution cannot be reached, the member has to go beyond the grievance
system. In November 2014, Bill C-42 came into force, but the impact on those
types of cases has been very slight.
I should also mention the
RCMP conduct process. The commissioner appeared before you and asked for broad
powers to resolve problems within the RCMP. Bill C-42 gave those powers to the
commissioner. How did those broad powers affect the conduct process? Prior to
November 2014, approximately 200 conduct cases had to be dealt with annually. In
2015, that number grew to 700, three-and-a-half times more.
In practical terms, what
does that increase mean? RCMP members worry that conduct measures will be used
against them. From my experience as an adviser and association vice-president, I
would say that most of the conduct measures imposed have been vexatious and
without grounds. The commissioner sent a message down the chain of command: if
conduct authorities do not impose conduct measures, they will be held personally
responsible. The officers in question are fearful and impose conduct measures as
What this means from a
resource standpoint is that accused members who see the measures as vexatious
become disengaged. If they remain in the RCMP, they no longer have the same
level of commitment. Some members I have represented have resigned. One
particular member was accused of three conduct violations. He had done his job
properly, but the officer in question determined that it was not enough and
initiated conduct measures. In the end, the member was cleared of two of the
alleged violations and found guilty on the third. He has appealed, and I am
convinced he will be cleared of the third violation as well. The member
resigned, however. He had 11 years of service under his belt and was very
We are talking about the
lack of resources, but I would argue that we should be using the resources we
currently have properly. The member who left the RCMP with 11 years of service
was highly qualified, but he found another job. The focus is on the grievance
system, but the conduct process is problematic as well.
Senator White: My question surrounds contact with members
of the RCMP. Within most workplaces it is a single location or maybe a couple of
locations where contact with potential future union members is done through
bulletin boards and things like that.
Is it true that you're not permitted to have access to the
internal mail system to contact members of the RCMP just to gauge whether or not
they're interested in certification?
Mr. Mancer: That
is an excellent question. Thank you for asking about how we communicate with
members. Just to put things in context for you, I would again point out that,
unlike a union, we can’t afford to post someone outside every building on a
daily basis in order to approach members. In addition, it is prohibited to
communicate with them using the email system. I know that some individuals who
belong to associations have sent emails out and are now facing conduct measures.
We have looked into the matter, and it does appear to be subject to the act.
According to the Public
Service Labour Relations Board, the act prohibits the use of the email system.
What means are we left with, then, to contact members in the workplace? The act
permits contact outside work hours. If memory serves me correctly, I believe
that falls under section 187 of the Public Service Labour Relations Act.
I ran into this problem
on May 20, 2016, when I was with Paul Dupuis, the president of the Quebec
Mounted Police Members’ Association. We went to RCMP headquarters in Montreal to
let members know that we had rented commercial space next door, on Green Street,
a local where they could come and ask us questions or sign cards. The commanding
officer was notified that I was on the premises. I was on vacation, so it was
not during work hours, but he imposed conduct measures on me for being on the
employer’s premises for the purpose of, in his view, soliciting union
membership. I filed a complaint with the labour relations board, and I expect my
case to be heard in late March. In the meantime, I was accused of a breach of
conduct simply for accompanying Paul Dupuis, who, for some reason, was not
The process of getting
membership cards signed is extremely challenging. We do not have enough
resources for the job. If there is one lesson to be drawn here, today, let it be
this: the sooner a union is established in the RCMP, the sooner the problems
will be resolved. Creating a regime where 40 per cent or 50 per cent of
employees need to have signed cards is a monumental task, especially given the
specific context of the RCMP, which currently has three associations. Quebec’s
association has remained at the provincial level, so there is no issue in that
regard. Nevertheless, two competing associations exist, and they do not want to
unite at this time. Whatever the solution ends up being, it will have to take
into account the dichotomy between the two current associations.
Senator White: I appreciate your case is in relation to
Quebec, but do you understand it is also an issue with any other organization
that is trying to certify across the country in 800 communities, with some
isolated from Tuktoyaktuk to Fogo Island? Is that correct?
Marc-André Fournier, Director, Quebec Mounted Police Members'
Association: The reality we're facing is tremendous. Quite frankly I don't
know how we're going to make it happen as quickly as we'd like to.
To add to your question so that you understand what kind of
employer we're facing now, we have code of conduct situations like Mr. Mancer is
facing right now. You have to ask yourself: What is the end goal?
As has been said by the previous associations, our goal is to
work with management to better our situation. All the steps that have been taken
so far show us otherwise. I had to take my personal trailer and my personal
truck, park them in front of our HQ in Montreal so that members could come
inside to sign. We were faced with people who were afraid of getting in my
trailer because they were being videotaped and they didn't want that to hinder
I'll let you come to your own conclusion as to what we're facing
as far as the other problems we may have financially or territorially. We're
also facing a big machine and it will be hard to make it happen.
Thank you to both of our witnesses. If I understood you correctly, Mr. Mancer,
the employer is not making it easy for you to get membership cards signed. In
other words, all the work has to happen outside the workplace. Your colleague
mentioned that people could be seen getting in the truck to sign and that it
made the process challenging. What do you think would be an acceptable
percentage of signed membership cards in order for RCMP officers to establish a
union? You cannot afford to contact members, so would the figure be 30 per cent?
Forty per cent? You have to have a certain percentage in order to establish a
union. What percentage do you see as being reasonable?
Mr. Mancer: I
don’t think it should be any higher than 30 per cent and, ideally, 25 per cent.
That would be enough. I want to stress how difficult it has been for us. In
Quebec, the employer has been using intimidation, which has made it extremely
tough for us to get managers to sign cards. Yes, people are afraid to get in the
truck to sign their membership cards, but we are also having trouble finding
people to sign the cards. For that reason, 30 per cent should be the maximum
requirement and, as I said, ideally 25 per cent. That is based on the old
one-third, one-third, one-third rule: a third of people support unionizing, a
third of people do not care one way or the other and need convincing, and a
third of people are against it.
I realize that the federal labour legislation requires unions to have membership
cards. As you pointed out, though, if the RCMP had its own union or association,
its employees would not be able to belong to another union. It would have to be
a single union, as is the case with most police organizations. It seems to me
that the card-signing process could be eliminated in favour of a secret ballot
vote, which would ease your burden tremendously. Is that what I am to
understand? No police organization has ever had membership cards; police
officers are hired and automatically enrolled in the union. Then, a secret
ballot vote is held. Do I understand correctly that a secret ballot vote would
make things easier for you?
Mr. Mancer: The
quickest solution would be the one that allows us to elect representatives. It
would be a good thing if the card-signing step were eliminated. In that case, a
vote could be held in two stages. The first vote would be on whether to
establish a union, and if the result were yes, the second vote would be to
choose the association with the mandate to represent employees. Very quickly, we
would arrive at an association representing members.
Bear in mind, however,
that Bill C-7 would solely allow the unionization of the RCMP’s 24,000 members.
The legislation would be tailor-made for members of the RCMP. Everyone else in
the government is unionized. This bill, An Act to amend the Public Service
Labour Relations Act, currently before the committee, would be tailor-made for
RCMP members. I urge you to support a bill specifically designed to fix the
problems we are facing. This is a luxury we are in desperate need of this time
I gather that a secret ballot vote would fix your problem.
Mr. Mancer: If a
secret ballot leads to a quick election, then, yes.
Senator Meredith: My question is with respect to
collaboration of the federation, the association and the Quebec Mounted Police
Members Association. What kind of collaboration is there? Are you working
together? You're going after the same members and the same resources with
respect to signing up and so forth? What collaboration is taking place among all
Mr. Mancer: The
Quebec association has, since the beginning, been calling for all three
associations to unite under a single banner, but we have not been able to get
there. I don’t quite know how to describe it, but cooperation is lacking. At
this stage, I do not see the Ontario association, the National Police
Federation, and the Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada, which was
created in British Columbia, coming together. That is how great the divide is.
There is little cooperation, so a tailor-made bill is necessary to address the
problem. Be it through a vote or card signing, we have to deal with it in order
to get around the problem. For a year, I have been trying to work towards a
merger, but that will not happen. The Quebec association is in contact with the
other two, but they do not communicate with one another.
Senator Meredith: My concern, Mr. Mancer, is the problems
we've heard from all three of you with respect to morale and lack of resources
and so forth continue while these three associations duel it out for this kind
The members are still not further advanced with respect to your
coming together. How will we get there? In terms of the broader security risk to
Canadians on the whole, how do we get there?
Mr. Mancer: I will tell you one very important thing. The
faster we have an election so that we can select the members, who will represent
other members, the better it is going to be.
The associations are
merely containers at this point. The content is the election of those
representatives. It is simply a matter of passing a bill that will make it
possible for us to hold that election. We could even establish rules governing
the first election. I don’t think, however, it will be possible to get there any
Mr. Fournier: In short, if you were to ask RCMP members
tomorrow to take a vote on whether or not they will vote for a union, I think it
is an unequivocal yes, the member who will vote want a union.
Who will represent them? That is another story. You need to
realize is that if you can provide us with a legislative framework that will
make it easier for us to be accredited as fast possible, then members will get
representation, and representation will get us all the issues we have discussed
today: better resources, better pay and better everything.
Senator Meredith: Yes, we get that. We know that. We need
to ensure that we have legislation so that you're fully accredited and so forth.
On the broader scope, Mr. Mancer, you talked about your
background in finance. We see that over 300 individuals in Canada have been
identified as radicalized and in fact 400 cases have been identified with
respect to terrorism financing.
Could you elaborate for me what needs to be done on that front,
given the fact it is your membership that investigates and brings these charges
to the fore?
Mr. Mancer: What
we need to be able to do is motivate the people who do the investigative work
for us to get them engaged in the investigations. At this point, people are
concerned about being saddled with conduct complaints. They are worried about
taking the actions that the investigation requires. In fact, I, as an adviser,
tell them to be cautious, given that conduct measures are thrown at them for
vexatious allegations. The people who are supposed to be protecting you are,
they, themselves scared and have to protect themselves.
This ties in with the
equipment and resource shortage I talked about. What I am saying is that current
resources are being underutilized and that most members are afraid to take
action and therefore simply follow orders. The safest way to operate in the RCMP
is to follow the orders of your superior.
You can do no wrong if you follow those orders.
That is the problem. The
RCMP is supposed to follow certain rules that apply in business, such as 3M
innovation, whereby innovation is part of the corporate culture. As soon as
someone approaches an investigation through an innovative lens, the likelihood
of being able to identify the one person out of 300 who genuinely intends to
commit a crime or set off a bomb goes up. Having confidence in members and their
expertise is key.
Right now, no expertise
even exists. People do a rotation of two, three or four years, and, then, they
work somewhere else. What that lack of expertise does is significantly lower the
chances of identifying a potential terrorist after having an initial contact
with them, because, on the basis of the clues, it would have been necessary to
speak with 20 or 30 people before being able to see and recognize patterns.
All of that ties in with
creating a balanced workplace, one that includes a union. Thank you.
The Chair: Colleagues, I want to get something straight on
the record. In view of the fact that Bill C-7 has not proceeded, am I to
understand you're in a position that you really cannot organize because there's
not a legislative framework to put in place whatever union is chosen for the
purpose of negotiating a collective agreement? Is my understanding correct?
Mr. Mancer: The
answer is simple. Right now, the existing Public Service Labour Relations Act is
the legislation governing us, and it requires written evidence that 40 per cent
of employees have signed cards. We have not reached 40 per cent, nor have the
associations individually. Even collectively, we do not have 40 per cent.
The Chair: So that we are clear, you're working under the
Public Service Labour Relations Act as it presently exists and for the purpose
of what you're doing.
Mr. Mancer: Yes.
Senator White: I have a supplementary question. If I
understand correctly, the new legislation Bill C-4 to amend the public service
labour relations legislation, and not Bill C-7, would allow you to go forward to
a labour board without 40 per cent. Isn't that correct?
Mr. Mancer: I have
spent many hours mulling over that very question. As it currently stands,
Bill C-4 —I have it here, with me —specifically states that the Canada Industrial Relations Board must be
satisfied that the association represents the majority of employees. I am not
sure how the board will interpret that. It appears in new subsection 64(1)(a).
Senator White: Not to debate but to be fair, my
understanding was that you have an opportunity to appear and explain why the
majority is not available to you.
In the case of the RCMP, with 800 communities, 700 and some
detachments located across every province and territory from here to Timbuktu
and back, my understanding is there would be an opportunity in that legislation.
I got from the other two organizations that they are looking for
a national police association or union. My understanding was that Bill C-4 would
allow that to occur. You're legally trained and I am not.
Mr. Fournier: I would say it depends on your definition of
majority. If the majority is 50 plus one, we're going back in time because right
now we have to satisfy 40 per cent.
Mr. Mancer: The solution offered in clause 65 says that
the board may order that a representation vote be taken.
Senator White: That's right. It gives you an argument.
Mr. Mancer: From a
legislative framework standpoint, it could be clearer; some clarity would
certainly be helpful.
The Chair: Colleagues, obviously there is some lack of
Mr. Mancer: Can I add one comment before you close?
The Chair: Go ahead.
Mr. Mancer: I was
curious as to why the current government feared unionization and why the
elements were in place to prevent us from moving forward quickly. One factor
that always has to be taken into account with respect to unionization is the
financial component. I have, here, a document I intend to submit to the
committee. It is simply an arbitration analysis. The adjudicator must consider
certain provisions of the act before raising wages or granting additional
benefits. That is covered in section 148 of the Public Service Labour Relations
Act. It is also dealt with in new section 238.21, pursuant to Bill C-7. In all
cases, the adjudicator must take into account the government’s financial
I also included the
remarks of Manon Brassard, from Treasury Board, to the House of Commons. She
clearly stated that she anticipated an increase of 0.25 per cent budget-wise.
I will leave those
documents with you for your consideration. No major costs are attached to the
arbitration or unionization of the RCMP. Therefore, I don’t understand why
things are not moving along more quickly. I have no answer to that.
The Chair: Sir, I can assure you we're asking the same
question. That's in part why you're here, and we certainly appreciate the fact
that you've taken the time to come here.
We would like to excuse our witnesses, and we will take a
two-minute suspension and then go in camera to discuss a couple of issues.